Eat your dog (or cat), save the planet


Here’s some sage advice from the Courier Mail, Brisbane’s very own tabloid newspaper:

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 10,000km a year in a 4.6 litre Land Cruiser.

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.

Needless to say, it’s probably more ecologically sustainable to eat children instead, but if the calculations are correct, the ecological footprint of things we take for granted is pretty interesting. (Read the full article here)

11 thoughts on “Eat your dog (or cat), save the planet

  1. David – the numbers do seem a little skewed (see here for some discussion from dog owners over at Slashdot). I guess what interests me here is the footprint of things in daily life that we take for granted (ever wonder why we still get a copy of the Yellow Pages each year?). The Real Climate discussion of Superfreakonomics is pretty incredible, but for some reason your link doesn’t work – try this instead:

  2. Odd, the link looks exactly the same, perhaps it’s the opening bracket?

    I don’t disagree with the idea of examining daily footprints. I just think on the list of things we might consider need to be done about greenhouse gases, this would be somewhere between 100 and 200 at best. I also think we run the strong risk of telling people that nothing they do in daily life can continue. And this is the kind of misconception that denialists prey on (back to the stone age etc). Telling people to kill and eat their pets because they are a major contributor to global warming is going to at best invite (quite rightly) derision and at worst have people say “oh stuff it, I’m not going to do anything if that’s what they are going to try to make me do”.

  3. Hi Boxer, We just picked up a 2 month puppy from the RSPCA this weekend. Unfortunately, he doesn’t look very palatable… maybe when he grows a little larger?

  4. i feel guilty about owning cats. but then, i feel guilty about many things i do wrt how i live on this planet. i DO have cats desexed, however… and i myself did not produce any children, who, as someone earlier pointed out, might be worse emitters and footprint-makers than the average moggy…

  5. This is an incredibly irresponsible post. Please consider that you have no science or ultimate footprint knowledge to back this up. You are an ignorant source.

  6. This is very ignorant. Why would you post a singular ecological study that as you disprove yourself is stupid!! Pets are something that should be considered in the emotional capacity that they are and become. Studies have shown, conclusively, that pets reduce stress and/or potentially hurt-full actions.

    Pet dogs, throughout evolution have aided the entire growth of society. A true scientist, looks at the facts and revists them. You topic title alone proves ignorance. Some of us are trying to help, please join that side.

  7. This is disgusting; it is insane to eat your dog/cat or any other household pet. tHat is like eating your best friend in some cases >:I

  8. supidest thing i have ever heard, yes they may have a bif ecological foot print but wouldnt it makes more sense to use mor fuel efficient cars, get a carbon tax etc. then make innocent animals suffer. It is not a cat or dogs fault that global warming, climate change, whatever you want to call it. It is purely human beings fault this is happening.

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