: Owning a pet: bad for the environment

10-23-09, 05:28 PM

They're faithful, friendly and furry but under their harmless, fluffy exteriors, dogs and cats, the world's most popular house pets, use up more energy resources in a year than driving a car, a new book says.

In their book "Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living", New Zealand-based architects Robert and Brenda Vale say keeping a medium-sized dog has the same ecological impact as driving 10,000 km (6,213 miles) a year in a 4.6 liter Land Cruiser.

These adorable eyes require a hectare of land for food, according to two authors.

Calculating that the modern Fido chows through about 164 kg of meat and 95 kg of cereals a year, the Vales estimated the ecological footprint of cats and dogs, based on the amount of land needed to grow common brands of pet food.

"There are no recipes in the book," Robert Vale told Reuters, laughingly, in a telephone interview. "We're not actually saying it is time to eat the dog. We're just saying that we need to think about and know the (ecological) impact of some of the things we do and that we take for granted."

Constructing and driving the jeep for a year requires 0.41 hectares of land, while growing and manufacturing a dog's food takes about 0.84 ha or 1.1 ha in the case of a large dog such as a German shepherd.

Meat-eating swells the eco-footprint of canines, and felines are not that much better, the Vales found.

The average cat's eco-footprint, 0.15 ha, weighs in at slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf, but still 10 times a hamster's 0.014 ha which is itself half the eco cost of running a plasma television.

By comparison, the ecological footprint of an average human in the developing world is 1.8 ha, while people in the developed world take 6 ha.

With pets' diets under the control of owners, how can their unsustainable appetites be trimmed? Convincing carnivorous cats and dogs to go vegetarian for the sake of the planet is a non-starter, the Vales say.

Instead they recommend keeping "greener," smaller, and more sustainable pets, such as goldfish, hamsters, chickens or rabbits.

The book's playful title, and serious suggestion that pet animals may be usefully "recycled", by being eaten by their owners or turned into pet food when they die, may not appeal to animal fans.

Off-putting as the idea may be, the question is valid given the planet's growing population and finite resources, Robert Vale said.

"Issues about sustainability are increasingly becoming things that are going to require us to make choices which are as difficult as eating your dog. It's not just about changing your light bulbs or taking a cloth bag to the supermarket," he said. "It's about much more challenging and difficult issues," he added.

"Once you see where (cats and dogs) fit in your overall balance of things you might decide to have the cat but not also to have the two cars and the three bathrooms and be a meat eater yourself."

I don't even... I mean seriously?

10-23-09, 05:38 PM
1. Kill all the animals
2. ?!?!?!?!?!

10-23-09, 06:00 PM
The people who wrote that book fail on so many levels that it should not be discussed how much they fail. Instead, we non-failing individuals should write a countering book disclosing their fail to the entire non-fail population.

Honestly though.. who in their right mind:

B. Considers a pet the same way they consider a car, carbon footprint and all?
C. Has a pet with wheels (hamster accessories excluded) that can even make it comparable?

Come on now eco-nazi's... that's just low.

Jesda should change their signature to say:

Serious dog is eating taking up a hectare of your land, seriously.

I really just died a little inside reading that post.

10-23-09, 06:19 PM
I own a big bullmastiff and drive a gas guzzling truck. :dflip:

10-23-09, 06:26 PM
I have an American bulldog/Labrador mix, and will soon drive a Fleetwood. Carbon footprint my ass. :D

10-23-09, 07:34 PM
Yeah, Kiwi's have so much hardship due to environmental issues! I can think of a lot of other consumers I would get rid of before I would start on pets as the problems ...... ofcourse, that wouldn't be politically correct ....... but it would certainly be more effective in addressing the issue of "carbon foot prints" and resource utilization!

10-23-09, 07:39 PM
Change of plans..
I'm gonna sell my dogs and buy a Range Rover Sport.

Gristle Boy
10-23-09, 08:05 PM

10-23-09, 08:16 PM
I think all greenies should commit mass suicide. It may not stop global warming, climate change, shrink the carbon footprint. But we need to reexamine things we take for granted to attain sustainable peace of mind...

10-23-09, 09:40 PM
I think they just need to be paid a visit by Miss Becky....

:thumbsup: to whoever gets that post...

10-23-09, 11:19 PM
King Henri IV of France is said to have remarked that Paris was worth a Mass. By the same token, I say my cat is worth a hectare. And my '69 Fleetwood and '77 Coupe de Ville are definitely worth their respective hectares. Also, screw the Kiwis for measuring things in hectares.

10-24-09, 08:33 PM
The authors can go f@@k themselves. Thrice. Once for me, once for Hoover and once for Pepper.

10-24-09, 11:44 PM
What about Betty, Cruella, and Sabrina?

10-25-09, 12:24 AM
Yes, they can f**k them selves three more times for my three V8s.

10-25-09, 12:52 AM
That's almost as bad as the article I read in the Onion about the Chinese woman who had septuplets and had to choose just one....except this isn't fiction. :lol:

10-25-09, 04:53 AM

10-26-09, 01:40 AM
I mentioned the greenie article to my cat. She says they can go hang themselves & take their miserable mindset with them. She'll take their trout though :D

10-27-09, 10:45 PM


('nuff said)

10-27-09, 11:24 PM
LOL, Winston looks like Wilford Brimley. Hope he doesnt have diabeetus :)

10-28-09, 01:06 PM

10-28-09, 05:53 PM
Oh man, I love that pic...

11-01-09, 09:46 AM


('nuff said)

It's even more of a win if there's an incandescent bulb in that lamp pictured with Winston. :lildevil:

11-03-09, 12:30 AM
No, it actually has an energy-saving bulb in it. I think that's even more of a slap in the face to the environmentalists, because we recycle, have energy-saving bulbs, and do various other things, all while I drive my Cadillacs and pet my dog.