PETA Says Environmental Group Must Join April 15 Call for Meat Tax—or Change Its Slogan

The Natural Resources Defense Council Challenged to Show It Cares About Climate Change

For Immediate Release:
April 11, 2014

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

New York – As April 15 approaches and Americans’ minds go to tax matters, PETA is calling on one of the U.S.’ most prominent environmental groups—the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—to join the campaign calling for a tax on the second-biggest environmental hazard facing the Earth: meat. Its production causes widespread problems, including water pollution, methane production, and deforestation. In a letter sent to the group today, PETA points out that studies show the indisputable link between the meat industry and climate change—with animal agriculture responsible for an estimated 51 percent of all human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions. PETA has offered to send a green “Mother Earth” cake big enough for the entire NRDC if the council stops trying to “have its cake and eat it, too” when it comes to meat consumption and agrees to support the tax on meat.

“Scientists have called for drastic steps to be taken in order to halt climate change—and to stop adding to the climate crisis, we must cut out our consumption of animal products and learn to eat a humane, healthy plant-based diet,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “A tax on meat will encourage people to make the transition, and the Natural Resources Defense Council should lead the way or drop ‘The Earth’s Best Defense’ as its slogan.”

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PETA’s letter to the Natural Resources Defense Council follows.


April 11, 2014


Frances Beinecke
Natural Resources Defense Council


Via e-mail: [email protected]


Dear Ms. Beinecke:

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters. As an organization that works hard to raise awareness of the devastating impact of the animal agriculture industry on our environment, we applaud your efforts to promote sustainable living. This tax season, we will deliver a special vegan Mother Earth cake, large enough for everyone at your office, if the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) agrees to take the next logical step to curb climate change—by joining PETA in our call for a tax on meat.

As you may know, the link between climate change and animal agriculture has been extensively documented. A report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in September of 2013 affirmed that “[t]he livestock sector plays an important role in climate change.” Indeed, the Worldwatch Institute estimates that animal agriculture is responsible for fully 51 percent of all human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions. The climate crisis cannot be resolved without dramatically reducing the world’s meat consumption.

Methane is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Pete Smith, one of several scientists from around the world who contributed to a December 2013 report in the journal Nature Climate Change, acknowledges that “one of the most effective ways to cut methane is to reduce global populations of ruminant livestock.” The number of these animals cannot be reduced if we do not also reduce the demand for meat. The report states, “[I]t is unlikely that a large-scale dietary change will happen voluntarily without incentives. … Implementing a tax or emission trading scheme on livestock’s greenhouse gas emissions could be an economically sound policy that would modify consumer prices and affect consumption patterns.” In addition to the growing number of scientists advocating for a tax on meat, environmental groups such as the Rainforest Action Network and the Center for Biological Diversity are beginning to focus on promoting a plant-based diet in order to solve some of the worst environmental problems that we face today.

Virtually all scientists agree that drastic steps must be taken to halt climate change, and unless we dramatically reduce our consumption of animal products, we won’t be able to make a meaningful dent in the climate crisis. A tax on meat will encourage people to make the transition, and the NRDC should lead the way or drop ‘The Earth’s Best Defense’ as its slogan. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind