I believe the best and fastest way to a vegetarian world is the same way our government is trying to end smoking: through taxation. Let us pass a law imposing a progressive tax on all forms of meat, from mammals, to fish, to fowl.
FIRST, GET THE LAW PASSED
This requires finding all current statistics and articles on the social, health, and environmental costs of meat eating.
We need to quantify environmental costs and damages resulting from factory farming, from the poisoning of the aquifer, lakes and oceans, the land use costs, food and energy costs, methane costs, etc.
We need to quantify the health costs of eating fowl and mammals, as well as radiation and other contaminants in fish. How many heart attacks, how much cancer and other diseases are caused or exacerbated by meat eating?
Remember, the current worry about plagues is the jump of viruses from animal to man, such as the bird flu and swine flu.
We need then quantify how these costs impact each American (Mexican, European, Brit, Scot, etc.).
Urge the passage of a law providing for a progressive taxation of all meat consumption to offset the social, health and environmental costs.
This will be a multi-year effort, strictly emphasizing the social, environmental and health costs of meat eating. We don’t want to make this a moral issue that will detract from the purely monetary issues of cost.
The law would tax farmed meat on a progressive basis, such as 50 cents the first year, followed by a tax increase of .50 to $1.00 each successive year.
The law would also tax hunted meat such as pheasant, pigeons, raccoon, opossum, deer, bear, moose, elk, goat and fish added to hunting license.
Imported and exported meat would be taxed also.
Would regulate and tax family style animal farming.
REVENUES WOULD BE USED TO:
1a. Research on vegetarian based alternatives to meat. That is, discovering recipes that duplicate the taste and texture of meat during the transition to a meat free society. This would be a collaboration between government and private researchers.
1b. Subsidize these meat alternatives so that they are as inexpensive or less expensive than meat.
1c. Publicly promote as well as subsidize alternative, vegetarian, food styles of non-meat diets.
2a. Publicity campaigns about the health risks of eating meat and the environmental pollution costs, just as we have anti-smoking labels on cigarettes, and on television.
2b. Taking this campaign into the schools.
2c. In the third year, begin to emphasize the moral problem of animal killing for food with lots of documentaries and ads against meat eating using footage from slaughter houses, fish processing, etc.
3a. Subsidize meat farmers to go out of the meat business into alternatives beginning the second year. Offer training for farmers and butchers into other lines of business.