Innovative Regulation of Meat Consumption in South Africa: An Environmental Rights Perspective

Keywords: Meat tax, ecological sustainable development, environmental law, meat production, meat consumption

Abstract

Meat production is a human activity driven by meat consumption, a human behaviour normalised in today's society. Human activity stems from particular psychological patterns (manifesting as human behaviour). It is argued that through regulating the human behaviour of meat consumption the environmentally harmful impacts of the human activity of meat production can potentially be mitigated. In particular, adopting an environmental rights perspective and a social ecological ethic, this article proposes the introduction of a meat tax in South Africa as an innovative means of regulating the human behaviour of meat consumption.

In Section 1 we introduce our arguments and discuss the social, ecological, ethical and environmental rights perspective from which we make them. Next, in Section 2 we discuss some of the most significant environmental harms caused by meat production and thus, indirectly, meat consumption. Then, in Section 3 we critically evaluate the command-and-control regulatory measures that currently regulate the human activity of meat production and seek in no meaningful way to regulate the psychological patterns associated with that human activity, the human behaviour of meat consumption. Lastly, in Section 4 we propose a meat tax, a type of market-based mechanism, as a regulatory measure which we argue could serve to influence human behaviour in order to reduce meat consumption and give better effect to the environmental right.

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Author Biography

Melanie Murcott, University of Pretoria

Senior lecturer in the Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.

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