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Thomas Dock, CVJ, Vet. Technician  
Male, 49
Indianapolis, IN

Interests: animals, Reading (sci-fi and fantasy)
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Pets worse than cars for global warming??

Dec 22, 2009 - 15 comments
Tags:

Pets

,

global warming



So, needless to say I am in utter shock this morning as I sort through the news that has filtered in overnight. In Yahoo News a headline caught my eye:  "Polluting Pets:  The Devastating Impact of Man's Best Friend".  I am not sure if this link will work, but the article can be read at: news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091220/sc_afp/lifestyleclimatewarminganimalsfood


In the article, two New Zealanders who are specialists in sustainable living analyzed pet food and by their calculations they say a medium size dog eats about 360 lbs of meat and 200 lbs of cereal each year.  They then calculated the cost in land required to generate the food and they determined that a dog has a carbon footprint of about 2 acres, which is twice the land needed for driving an SUV 6,000 miles a year.  And, a magazine asked the Stockhom Environment Institute in Britain to also calculate the "pawprint" of our pets and supposedly they came up with similar numbers.  One of the original articles that this "news" story was based on came out of the New Scientist Magazine.  In fact, it reads almost word for word as this article.  By the way, these folks, Robert and Brenda Vale have also written a book titled "Time to Eat the Dog?  The Real Guide To Sustainable Living"  In essence, they state that "owning a dog is really quite an extravagance".

So...do you all see the numbers game that is being played here too?   By assuming that the land and food and energy output to create the food for one dog has no other purpose, they can artificially inflate the impact.  But, we all know that the meat in your pet's food is not just raised for dog food alone...the meat in our pet's food is generally supplied from meat that is raised for other purposes (feeding us).  And, I am quite certain that the grains in pet foods are not grown solely to go in our dog's bowl, but are also used to feed other animals, feed us, and even for other uses like bio fuels.

The article goes on to talk about the impact of pets on wildlife and how they are spreading disease and polluting waterways.

I can't argue that our pets AREN'T impacting the environment, especially with the quantity of feces that they are producing...but I do know that responsible pet owners clean up after their pets and try to minimize the impact locally.  And, I want to know why they are singling out pets...why not complain about the millions of people who bathe in rivers in Third World countries?  Aren't they spreading bacteria and disease too?

Sadly, this article also says things like, "feed the cat on fish heads and other leftovers from the fish monger...the impact will be lower".  Seriously??  So, its ok to use the fact that the fish are caught for other purposes, but not the fact that cattle/sheep/chickens, etc are too?  Plus, a cat fed fish as its only source of protein could develop some severe medical issues long term.

You will love the end of the article as well..."if you are going to get a pet, make sure it is dual purpose.  Get a hen who will lay eggs for you or a rabbit that you can eat later in its life".  

Yep...that's what I want from my pets...I want them to love me unconditionally so that I can eat them later!!!   Give me a break!!

Comments
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by Tammy2009, Dec 22, 2009
Wow ..... Someone is not a pet lover.  

If we should eat our pets, why not our children?  There are so many people on the earth polluting so why not start eating eachother?  

And why don't we start eating only fish heads and other leftovers?  If it is going to go to waste, we should start eating them so it doesn't go to waste!

lol.

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by Quixotic1, Dec 22, 2009
I agree that this thinking is narrow and considers few things.  The article that I read spoke of the "land usage" to grow pet food" versus the land use to creat a car, but didn't deal at all with the many years that a car will emit polllutants, not to mention that most cars emissions will rise as that car ages.  Not did they deal with the fact that when a pet dies it can return it's nutrients to the earth, but a car just sits and rusts.

Nor did they deal with the synthetic parts of the car and the land needed to protect them.

Tammy makes the obvious point.  Let's look at all the beings who eat what grows on the land and consider eliminating them?  Why don't we start with eating Grandma?  She's not doing much for the world at large, yet she still poops as much as ever.  At least our kids have potential to grow up and improve the earth!

All of this cheapens the discussion about protecting the planet, by introducing absurdities that make people tend to mock the more legitimate concerns and discussions.  Keep the focus on the focus!

Sheesh!

Quix

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by Quixotic1, Dec 22, 2009
Nor did they deal with the synthetic parts of the car and the land needed to "produce" them.  sorry

I suggest that Robert and Brenda consider suicide.  Death is the most truly sustainable state.

Quix

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by ginger899, Dec 22, 2009
Hey....I think before we start worrying about the amount of dog/cat/ferret/etc feces around in this World, we should take a look at how many PEOPLE inhabit this planet, and the damage they do first......

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by PrettyKitty1, Dec 22, 2009
They obviously have NOTHING better to do. Give them a broom and a mop and make them work for real and you'll see how this whole bull crap goes away.

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by ginger899, Dec 22, 2009
...And what about cows?? There are far too many of them around for a start. They create so much methane (burps and farts) .......
(Gosh, this is hilarious.......)
All because we GOTTA HAVE milk in everything! And of course, there are too many billions of us all wanting milk in everything......thus too many billions of cows all burping and farting all over the place.

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by gritsonamission, Dec 23, 2009
"Owning pets is bad".....  And who owns pets?  PEOPLE!  So, People are bad.  I'm a person, you're a person, the ones who wrote the article in question (gasp) are people....  I suggest Conscentration Camps, Assisted Suicides, and getting your teen daughters/sons fixed so they can not create more people.  Eventually, we will have this horrible population problem under control, and there will only be about 30 or 40 of us left.....  Yes, that's right, I said us.  Ten or twelve of you are going to have to die in my place...  What? I came up w/ the idea; I get cartblanc.

If once we've done all of this, the Earth is still going down the drain, maybe we should start thinking abt. the Biblical view:  It's not going to be here anyway.  Or, maybe society should hold on to its ideals.  After all, society is made up of people, and PEOPLE so obviously know what they are talking abt.

Wait, did I just contradict myself?.....  Well, that's the best way to always be right.  :D

Victoria

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by Aaron147, Dec 23, 2009
I don't believe it. Don't believe everything you read, especially if it's from a mainstream source like yahoo. Pets causing Global warming? Now it's pets? The same assholes who profit from all the global warming/go green babble, invest in companies who pollute 100 times more than any pet. The elite are obviously getting desperate and they must use any means of our stupidity we have left to get us to support their New World order.

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by abush21, Dec 24, 2009
hi doctor
i need asuggesion about hip joint replacement and costs that does hip joint replacement

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by vontell, Dec 24, 2009
Sounds like a new tax coming down the pike- a tax on the amount of pets you own!

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by Thomas Dock, CVJ, Vet. TechnicianBlank, Dec 24, 2009
abush...I am not sure if you are refering to a hip replacement in you or your pets....but in either case, you will need to go to the expert forums.   The Ask A Vet expert forums (Surgery) can be found in the Pets Section of the forums.

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by R Glass, Dec 27, 2009
“Why don't we start with eating Grandma?  She's not doing much for the world at large, yet she still poops as much as ever.”


Mine came out tough. I should have parboiled before putting her on the Pit.


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by Karen99, Dec 28, 2009
I do not want to live in a sterile world.  Poop, farts, and belching have their place in the world.  

All creatures in this world should eat, drink and be merry....and poop as needed. We need fertilizer!

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by 29sillygirl, Dec 28, 2009
Dr. D.
Thanks for sharing.  New Scientist...hmmm..some sort of pop scientific rag.  Never heard of it.  A well balanced scientific paper would not have sounded like this rant.

The New England Journal of Medicine published an article on how a cat in a British (I think) hospital was kept as he had the ability to know when a patient was close to death.  He'd stay with them until their spirit passed.  My oncologist brought it to my attention when we were chatting about pets and their impact on patients @ MD Anderson here in Orlando.  

MD Anderson has a program which involves bringing trained dogs to visit patients.

We carry on.  As you said feeding a cat nothing but fish would kill it.  So..it is time to feed mine and I will stop my rant!

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by tonytiger821, Jul 06, 2010
Nothing wrong with suggesting that we might consider other pets than cats and dogs... maybe some who are vegetarians by nature and would have less impact on the environment...  

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