Tax Beef to Curb Massive Pollution From Cattle Farms

Target: Dan Rayfield, Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives

Goal: Tax all beef sales in the state of Oregon to reduce harmful methane pollution.

Beef is a 90 million dollar industry in Oregon, where there is no sales tax. Meanwhile, a hellscape of wildfires is causing Oregon’s already disproportionate homeless population to grow, highlighting the need for more funding. Shady forests get chopped down for sunny grazing pasture, and as the climate grows ever hotter, more trees burn. The beef industry isn’t helping: cattle emit more warming methane than the amount of carbon they allegedly store in grazed soil. According to the U.N., 14% of the world’s greenhouse gasses come from meat and dairy production. And although the production of beef uses 83% of America’s farmland, it provides only 18% of our calories: a wasteful trade!

Even a 20% reduction in beef consumption would lower greenhouse gas production as much as driving only electric cars. If we were to tax beef sales in Oregon, we would alert consumers to the problems that cattle ranching exacerbates. The money could be used to plant trees for carbon sequestration and forest regeneration, or to help wildfire refugees, and even help livestock farmers change into vegetable farmers. Polluted water needs purification, and wild horses and other displaced wildlife need sanctuaries. Cows need sanctuaries too, to live out their natural 25 years rather than being slaughtered by the age of two. Please sign the petition to demand a tax on beef.


Dear Speaker Rayfield,

Oregon has no sales tax, and beef is a 90 million dollar industry. Grass-fed cattle production is believed to be sustainable, however, one pound of beef still creates a hundred times more greenhouse gas emissions than a pound of beans. Cow burps, farts and manure create over a third of the methane in the U.S., by EPA estimates, driving temperatures up to drought conditions. Meanwhile, wildfires are now eating up Oregon’s land and smoking the skies.

Producing beef takes four times more water than plant proteins. Nearly half of all water consumption in the U.S. goes to grow grain to feed cattle– which then pollute the rest of the water. And grass-fed cattle are not immune. In fact, since they live longer to make it to market weight, a grass-fed cow uses 35% more water than a conventionally fed cow. They’ll also take up 30% more land in grazing. Beef is an extremely inefficient food source, providing just 18% of America’s calories, while using 83% of our farmland.

Here are some suggestions of what the tax proceeds could be used for:

1. tree planting, to regenerate forests and sequester carbon

2. relief for people who have lost their homes in wildfires

3. help livestock farmers transition into vegetable farming. The Dairy Farm Transition program by Miyoko is excellent.

4. water and air purification from manure

5. sanctuaries for wild horses and other displaced wild animals

6. sanctuaries for surviving cows, who would naturally live 20 years or more instead of being butchered by age two.

Consumers of animal products should grasp the connection and contribute to mending the environmental disasters they’ve helped cause. If each Oregonian reduced beef consumption by just 20%, greenhouse gas emissions could lower as much as if all our automobiles were electric. Please push for a tax on all beef products in the state of Oregon.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Kim Hansen

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