FEDERAL Treasurer Scott Morrison says “pigs might fly” in response to the “silly” demand for a tax on bacon, by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
And PETA’s recent comparison of “rape” to the treatment of dairy cows in milk production and animals used in other intensive farming practices has been met with similar disdain by the Australian dairy industry.
The animal rights group, which has an incessant appetite for running controversial campaigns against livestock production, has suggested a tax should be imposed on bacon, like it is on cigarettes, as part of a creeping legislative and economic agenda aimed at countering public health issues, like cancer, linked to product consumption.
Asked about PETA’s suggestion of a bacon tax, in a radio interview last week, Mr Morrison said “I have a massive conflict of interest on this - I don’t mind a bit of bacon”.
“My response to that is, pigs might fly,” he said.
“You’re not takin’ my bacon - that’s not going to happen.
“No takin’ my bacon - hashtag.
“Put it on a tee-shirt - whatever you like.”
Mr Morrison said PETA’s bacon tax was “a silly idea” and the animal rights group had only raised it to generate “a bit of publicity or something”.
“That’s what that mob tends to get on with,” he said.
“GST is on bacon currently depending on how it’s done but…that (bacon tax) won’t be happening.
“This political correctness of your pantry and your fridge, I mean, nah - not doing it.”
The bacon tax suggestion was mooted in an opinion article by PETA Australia’s associate director Ashley Fruno, published in various media outlets last week.
The article highlighted a discredited, alarmist claim of about two years’ ago which linked the consumption of processed meats like bacon and sausages, to cancer.
At the time, Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce said it was a “farce” to put processed meat products like bacon in the same cancer-causing category as cigarettes.
“I don’t think we should get too excited that if you have a sausage you’re going to die of bowel cancer because you’re not,” Mr Joyce said.
“What obviously is part of this is you should have a balanced diet – too much of any one thing is bad for you and you certainly don’t want to live on sausages.”
In the PETA opinion article, Ms Fruno said “In an effort to become healthier - not to mention more sensible - shouldn’t we raise taxes on the other cancer-causing substances we put in our mouths?”
“The biggest difference between eating a bacon cheeseburger and smoking is that one is more socially acceptable than the other,” she wrote.
“A few decades ago, smoking was also considered normal.
“We already pay extra taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and petrol to help offset the health and environmental costs of these items, so it’s reasonable to expect people to pay more for unhealthy - and unnecessary - foods that harm both humans and animals and contribute significantly to climate change.”
Australian Pork Limited CEO Andrew Spencer also rejected the bacon tax proposal saying it was “crazy” idea raised by PETA which doesn’t support meat consumption and it was also “ridiculous” to compare eating bacon to smoking.
Australian Dairy Farmers CEO David Inall said he’d recently returned from living in the US for the past four and a half years, working in the egg industry, and had returned with no “deeper knowledge” of PETA’s activities than before he departed.
Mr Inall said the US egg industry only spoke to credible animal welfare groups and chose not to give any credibility to extremist claims on issues like comparing milk production or intensive farming practices, to women being “raped”.
“During my time in the US egg industry, nobody spoke to PETA or gave them any oxygen because they’re far too radical and only use scare tactics to spread misinformation about what the industry does,” he said.
The PETA campaign features a video showing different women speaking and contrasting the experiences felt by animals in farm production, to “rape”.
“Cows and other factory-farmed female animals endure being raped repeatedly and their babies are torn away from them before they’re all killed,” PETA says in the campaign.
“When a human is forcibly and involuntarily violated sexually, it’s called ‘rape’
“When animals on factory farms are forcibly and involuntary violated sexually, it’s called ‘artificial insemination’.
“Farmers exploit the female reproductive system to keep up a steady influx of new victims whom they can turn into ‘products’ on supermarket shelves.”