Few Australians are aware of the real economic forces behind the production of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Animal food producers rely on government subsidies, artificially-low prices, and influence over legislation and regulation to provide the cheap meat, eggs and dairy to which consumers have become accustomed. As a result, Australians incur massive hidden costs associated with every animal product that are not visible at the checkout. These additional costs relate to animal suffering, damage to the environment, and healthcare.
The 2017 Voiceless Animal Law Lecture Series examined the real costs of animal agriculture, and asked the question – could a tax on meat be the answer? To answer this question and challenge the current system was lawyer and author of Meatonomics, David Robinson Simon. David Robinson Simon was the first person to calculate the enormous hidden costs that the US animal food system imposes on taxpayers, animals and the environment, finding that these totalled to at least $414 billion annually.