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Do we eat too much meat? (simple text)

This article has been adapted from the enriched ebook ‘iLook iThink iSpeak – English Practice – vol 1 by Zapa iBooks. To discover what enriched ebooks are and how they work on iPads, download the free edition of  ’iLook iThink iSpeak – English Practice’ here.

Look at the vocabulary before you start!

tax: money you pay the government from your salary or when you buy something

to reduce: to make less or smaller

global warming: the global increase in temperatures

environment: the natural world

health: your physical (and/or mental) condition

dairy products: products made from milk

crops: plants that are cultivated and sold commercially

to feed: to give food to someone or something

Governments tax alcohol and petrol. Why don’t they tax meat too? A report by the United Nations concluded that if we don’t reduce our consumption of meat, global warming and pollution will get worse.

Having so many animals just for food is a serious environmental problem. A Nobel prize winner, Dr. Pachauri, has suggested that if we don’t eat meat one day per week we will contribute to the battle against global warming.

If we eat 50% less meat we would reduce carbon emissions more than if we used our cars 50% less. It would also be good for our health. One report suggests that vegans suffer less from common health problems such as cancer and diabetes.

PETA, an animal rights group, wants to tax meat and dairy products. They compare this tax to the taxes that exist for petrol, alcohol and tobacco. They say that this money can be used to compensate the costs caused by using animals for food. They also explain that crops such as corn and soya are used to feed animals. They believe we should use these crops to feed humans first.

The population of the world is increasing and demand for meat too. But if we have more animals we will have less land for agriculture. Maybe a tax on meat will change people’s mentality and help stop a possible environmental catastrophe.

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Do we eat too much meat? (original)

Do we eat too much meat? (original text)

a) Look at the photo on the cover and then talk about the following question.

If the price of meat increased by 100%, would you become vegetarian?

b) What do these words mean?

tax, pollution, consumption, deforestation, global warming, intake, to lower, vegans, sin, dairy, healthcare, exponentially, livestock, hectares, catastrophe.

c) Listen to the audio and/or read the text.

If you tax alcohol and petrol, why not tax meat too? In 2006, a UN report on the pollution caused by the meat industry was published. Its conclusion was that unless we reduce our meat consumption, we won’t be able to fight climate change, water and air pollution and deforestation effectively.

The report said that raising animals for food is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems”, both locally and globally. Dr. Pachauri, part of a UN Nobel Peace Prize winning team, suggested we should have one meat-free day a week if we want to contribute to the battle against global warming.

A 50% reduction in our meat intake would be more effective at lowering carbon emissions than using our cars 50% less. Not only would this be good for the environment but also for our personal health and more obviously for the health of the animals. The American Dietetic Association reports that vegans are less likely to suffer from many common conditions, including cancer, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.

PETA, an action group who recommend the ethical treatment of animals, has called for a “sin tax” on meat, eggs and dairy products. They compare it to existing taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and petrol. They say that this would help cover the health and environmental costs caused by using animals as food, and suggest that the tax could reduce the amount spent on healthcare. The money raised could, in turn, be used to educate people on the benefits of reducing meat consumption. Worldwide, almost 1,000 million tons of corn, wheat and soya are used to feed farmed animals. This could be used instead to feed humans.

Given that in the developing world, especially China, the population and their standard of living is increasing, the demand for meat is expected to grow exponentially. In Latin America, where livestock production has caused 24 million hectares of land to be lost to farming, these taxes may be necessary to prevent an environmental catastrophe.

This article has been adapted from the enriched ebook ‘iLook iThink iSpeak – English Practice – vol 1 by Zapa iBooks. To discover what enriched ebooks are and how they work on iPads, download the free edition of  ‘iLook iThink iSpeak – English Practice’ here.

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