The Sciences

Time to Eat the Dog?

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumDec 22, 2009 4:54 PM

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Today a link to this story hit my inbox:

..the revelation in the book "Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living" by New Zealanders Robert and Brenda Vale has angered pet owners who feel they are being singled out as troublemakers. ...... Combine the land required to generate its food and a "medium" sized dog has an annual footprint of 0.84 hectares (2.07 acres) -- around twice the 0.41 hectares required by a 4x4 driving 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) a year, including energy to build the car.

While admittedly, I haven't read the book, it appears the authors are just as hard on cats for killing wildlife, producing toxic waste, and eating Fancy Feast. In fact, no pet is innocent... not even goldfish. BUT there's a big elephant in the room on this one (hopefully included in detail once readers get beyond the eye-catching title). While the cumulative 'eco-pawprint' of our furry friends may be large, the trouble isn't really about pets specifically. Rather, the point is that here on planet Earth, we (humans included) eat lots of protein. Food production (for dogs, cats, people, and more) has a gargantuan impact. Thus, the largest part of this equation--by far--has everything to do with the overwhelming carbon footprint of the meat industry. The solution would be shifting average diet away from meat. Is it possible? Yes. Likely? That's more complicated.

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