Sustainability of diets: From concepts to governance
The production of food for consumption produces environmental stress and raises ethical issues. As humans are able to choose different foodstuffs in their diets, food consumption guidance may have large benefits for the environment. Meat consumption is often identified as the most environmentally harmful foodstuff to produce and animal welfare and rights issues are receiving ever more attention. By combining both issues, this article proposes a conceptual framework for combining alternative dietary habits and agricultural production styles in general environmental policy strategies. Two means to lower meat consumption are proposed: 1) Redeveloping the Pigouvian food taxation system introduced by Goodland (1997), in which foodstuffs are taxed according to their environmental burden. An elaborated version could also include an ethical tax that incorporates consumers' attitudes on animal welfare and a coefficient that takes into account the inherent value of animals; 2) Taking the composition of a national stockpile as a starting point and designing the agricultural production system from a combined environmental and ethical perspective. In this system, the environmentally and ethically preferable foodstuffs would be purchased by the government and sold to the global markets. The premiums between these two prices would constitute the subsidies for the national production.
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