Dec 22, 2009
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!!