I’m a pet owner and particularly love dogs – I tend to spend more time with Niki The Wonder Dog than I do with humans these days. As tragic as that may sound, it’s fine by me. It would be hard to imagine life without her company.
However, excerpts from a recently released book have again given me “paws” for thought regarding the environmental impact of owning a pet.
Some of the information in the book has certainly set the cat among the pigeons.
Robert and Brenda Vale’s “Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living”, states that the carbon footprint of a Toyota Landcruiser (SUV) driven 10,000 kilometres a year is less than half that of maintaining a medium-sized dog over the same period!
Their comparison is based on the energy needed to keep a dog vs. build and run a vehicle.
The authors say that cats have an eco-footprint of slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf. But not so fast cat lovers – according to an article on New Scientist reviewing the book, studies in the UK, US and Australia shows each domestic cat kills around 25 birds, mammals and frogs per year.
I’m not about to compost Niki prematurely as part of my greening efforts and I do find the figures a little hard to swallow, but it does bring to mind the environmental impact from all the non-essential stuff we buy for our pets aside from the basics such as food.
Niki may just have to do without that new chew toy I was going to buy her.
“Here Niki, have a stick instead”.
By the way, if you’re thinking of getting a pet dog or cat regardless, consider a recycled pet. So many unwanted animals are needlessly destroyed each year.