Will Gov. Inslee Put a ‘Sin Tax’ on Meat Sales?

PETA Urges Climate-Focused Lawmaker to Protect Earth, Animals, and Washingtonians in One Fell Swoop

For Immediate Release:
January 2, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Olympia, Wash. – In response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement that defeating climate change is his “number one priority” and because the federal government environmental agencies aren’t doing their jobs to regulate factory farms, PETA sent a letter today suggesting that he enact an excise tax (or a “sin tax”) of 10 cents on every pound of meat sold in grocery stores and restaurants. The group points out that such a tax would slash Washington’s greenhouse-gas emissions and medical costs, boost its revenue, and spare the lives of countless animals.

“The solution to the climate crisis is staring Governor Inslee—and all of us—right in the face, and that’s ending the consumption of animals,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Inslee to take the important step of making Washington greener, healthier, and more humane by taxing animal flesh.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that tobacco, alcohol, and gasoline are all taxed because of their negative health or environmental consequences.

Note: PETA supports animal rights, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, and provides the public with information about those issues. The group does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Inslee follows.

January 2, 2020

The Honorable Jay Inslee

Governor of Washington

Dear Gov. Inslee,

Happy New Year! I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including more than 115,000 in Washington, with a proposal that would boost the state’s revenue, slash its greenhouse-gas emissions and medical costs, and spare the lives of countless animals: Tax meat.

Since climate change and rising medical costs are plaguing Americans, a “sin tax” on meat would be a great step toward alleviating both of them in Washington. We suggest an excise tax of 10 cents on every pound of the flesh of chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows, fish, or any other animal sold in grocery stores and restaurants. Revenue from a meat tax could be used to fund educational programs about healthy eating and access to affordable vegan foods.

The sale of tobacco, alcohol, and gasoline are all taxed by Washington because of their negative health or environmental consequences. However, meat has gotten off tax-free thus far—a major oversight when you consider, among other things, the following:

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, livestock production is the leading cause of ocean dead zones, water pollution, species extinction, and habitat destruction. Animal agriculture depletes our freshwater supply and usable soil and is responsible for producing more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector. We’re currently facing the largest mass species extinction of the past 65 million years, and scientists predict that by the year 2048, we could see fishless oceans.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, preventable maladies—including cancer, heart disease, strokes, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, high cholesterol, autoimmune disorders, and osteoporosis—are all linked to the consumption of animal-derived products. Reports estimate that Americans spend as much as $123 billion a year to treat diseases directly related to meat consumption.

In light of your commitment to “make defeating climate change the number one priority” of your political platform, we hope you’ll take this opportunity to move forward with a meat tax.

Thank you for your consideration.


Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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