Littleproud says the idea of imposing a 79 per cent tax on some meats is 'ridiculous'.
Littleproud says the idea of imposing a 79 per cent tax on some meats is 'ridiculous'. Lisovskaya Natalia

Littleproud tears down idea to tax red meat and 'save lives'

A CALL from scientists in the United Kingdom to impose a tax on red meat have been carved up by member for Maranoa and Agricultural Minister David Littleproud, who said governments should not dictate peoples' diets.

Research conducted by Oxford University has sparked fresh debate by suggesting a 14 per cent tax on red meat and 79 per cent tax on processed meat.

The research claimed tax could curb overconsumption of red meat and prevent 6000 deaths in the UK.

But Mr Littleproud said the idea was "garbage".

"This is yet another attempt from the PC crowd to tell Australians how they should live their lives," he said.

"People have to take responsibility for what they put in their mouths not the government."

Stanthorpe butcher and organic farmer Greg Paterson said there could be a public outcry if a red meat tax was imposed.

"Whilst here in Australia there is no GST on any fresh food or vegetables if they try to impose that, I think there is a possibility there will be a public outcry," Mr Paterson said.

Mr Paterson said he was aware of a growth in vegan and vegetarian movements in Australia.

"Financially it hasn't affected me, I have had no one physically or intellectually try and influence my thinking on a personal basis but I have seen it on social and mainstream media trying to become stronger and influence the majority," he said.

For the past 30 years, Mr Paterson has promoted sustainable and ethical practices in his paddock-to-plate butchery and organic hobby farm in Stanthorpe.

He said red meat was an important part of the human diet for some people.

"I have a high metabolism and I am a thin guy, I could not survive on just grass or lettuce," he said.

Mr Littleproud said a red meat tax would not go ahead.

"If other countries want to follow this madness and tax meat good luck to them but it won't happen here."