Hello clickers. Happy holidays.
Polluting pets: the devastating impact of man's best friend
A man walks his dog in the snow in the East Village on December 19 in New York City. Man's best friend …
by Isabelle Toussaint and Jurgen Hecker Isabelle Toussaint And Jurgen Hecker " Sun Dec 20, 3:23 pm ET
PARIS (AFP) " Man's best friend could be one of the environment's worst enemies, according to a new study which says the carbon pawprint of a pet dog is more than double that of a gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle.
But 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.
The Vales, specialists in sustainable living at Victoria University of Wellington, analysed popular brands of pet food and calculated that a medium-sized dog eats around 164 kilos (360 pounds) of meat and 95 kilos of cereal a year.
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.
To confirm the results, the New Scientist magazine asked John Barrett at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York, Britain, to calculate eco-pawprints based on his own data. The results were essentially the same.
"Owning a dog really is quite an extravagance, mainly because of the carbon footprint of meat," Barrett said.
Other animals aren't much better for the environment, the Vales say.
Cats have an eco-footprint of about 0.15 hectares, slightly less than driving a Volkswagen Golf for a year, while two hamsters equates to a plasma television and even the humble goldfish burns energy equivalent to two mobile telephones.
But Reha Huttin, president of France's 30 Million Friends animal rights foundation says the human impact of eliminating pets would be equally devastating.
"Pets are anti-depressants, they help us cope with stress, they are good for the elderly," Huttin told AFP.
"Everyone should work out their own environmental impact. I should be allowed to say that I walk instead of using my car and that I don't eat meat, so why shouldn't I be allowed to have a little cat to alleviate my loneliness?"
Sylvie Comont, proud owner of seven cats and two dogs -- the environmental equivalent of a small fleet of cars -- says defiantly, "Our animals give us so much that I don't feel like a polluter at all.
"I think the love we have for our animals and what they contribute to our lives outweighs the environmental considerations.
"I don't want a life without animals," she told AFP.
And pets' environmental impact is not limited to their carbon footprint, as cats and dogs devastate wildlife, spread disease and pollute waterways, the Vales say.
With a total 7.7 million cats in Britain, more than 188 million wild animals are hunted, killed and eaten by feline predators per year, or an average 25 birds, mammals and frogs per cat, according to figures in the New Scientist.
Likewise, dogs decrease biodiversity in areas they are walked, while their faeces cause high bacterial levels in rivers and streams, making the water unsafe to drink, starving waterways of oxygen and killing aquatic life.
And cat poo can be even more toxic than doggy doo -- owners who flush their litter down the toilet ultimately infect sea otters and other animals with toxoplasma gondii, which causes a killer brain disease.
But despite the apocalyptic visions of domesticated animals' environmental impact, solutions exist, including reducing pets' protein-rich meat intake.
"If pussy is scoffing 'Fancy Feast' -- or some other food made from choice cuts of meat -- then the relative impact is likely to be high," said Robert Vale.
"If, on the other hand, the cat is fed on fish heads and other leftovers from the fishmonger, the impact will be lower."
Other potential positive steps include avoiding walking your dog in wildlife-rich areas and keeping your cat indoors at night when it has a particular thirst for other, smaller animals' blood.
As with buying a car, humans are also encouraged to take the environmental impact of their future possession/companion into account.
But the best way of compensating for that paw or clawprint is to make sure your animal is dual purpose, the Vales urge. Get a hen, which offsets its impact by laying edible eggs, or a rabbit, prepared to make the ultimate environmental sacrifice by ending up on the dinner table.
"Rabbits are good, provided you eat them," said Robert Vale.
Hasenpfeffer is gut!!!!!! Mmmmmmmm been a long time since I had that. Please excuse the spelling ehBeth. It's been a long time for my kleine kinder German speaking. Grinsen...........
((Dodging shoes thrown at me with other stuff))
Hi ya Alex!
If we consider the fact that many couples are adopting dogs and cats instead of raising a family, they're reducing the feetsie prints of a few full grown humans, so perhaps there's a balance after all...(somewhere)
I'm feeling a tad silly today...must be the holidays.
Preparing goodies, munching Christmas candy, and playing with kittens...a very good day. Done with shopping, wrapping, decorating...hurrah.
Keep safe driving today, wildclickers
Hello clickers. Happy holidays.
.....But 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.[..............]
To confirm the results, the New Scientist magazine asked John Barrett at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York, Britain, to calculate eco-pawprints based on his own data. The results were essentially the same.....
Hello Alex, Merry Christmas to you too. As far as the book by the New Zealand couple you just quoted, I never before supported the French secret service's decision to blow up a Greenpeace ship in Auckland harbor, but now I see there may have been great wisdom in that approach. Pity that Mr and Mrs Vale weren't on that ship at the time, but perfection is not for this world
Merry Christmas, Hoft!
Don't agree with blowing up a Greenpeace ship for any reason...but a Japanese Whaler? That's another story.
Dogs, cats, horses, wolves, bears, big cats, small prarie dogs, etc. arn't the problem, as we well know. The human species is. Robert and Brenda Vale are making a good chunk of change from their 'controversial study'.
Stradee, I agree the human animal is the prob with our earth - where's Hannibal Lecter when you need him?
Dodged one shoe ---------- Ouch, where'd that one come from?????????
I do not support or agree with the Vales. I can think of many reasons their research money could of been spent.
where do people get all that grant money??? amazing, huh
Probably the NIH...our tax money.
All clicked ------- another tree smiling.
I'm all clicked and waiting for Santa!
Happy Holidays, Wildclickers!!
Good morning to all the WildClickers everywhere!
I hope you're all warm and comfy or cool and comfy. I hope you're relaxed and ready to have a couple of pleasant meals with people who don't annoy you.
Yesterday I forgot to wish everyone a HAPPY FESTIVUS day. Well, a belated HAPPY FESTIVUS DAY ALL !!
Yeah, ehBeth - today is the day that should make us all have to exercise for the next two months. Just remember before it happens - ONE COOKIE EQUALS ONE MILE OF WALKING !!!!
Ok, that's over and I feel better for helping someone - Now, Pass the Cookies !!!
Happy Christmas Eve all...............
Mmmmmm, Dan like biscotti, biscotti good, Mmmmmmm.
Thanks Stradee, nice snack. My favorite is the one with a hint of anise. The regular not spiced ones are great dipped in wine.
Thinking everyone had a nice happy and healthy Merry Christmas. I'm full.
Winter coat grew...again!
Hope all wildclickers had a beautiful Christmas.
A day to remember, good people, and scrumptious food.
Just in time for clicks before tomorrow. whew
Wow! That was beautiful!
Catching up from all of the cooking and baking I did, yesterday. Had 3 of my 5 kids home and my daughter is coming up today from MD. Had a great time. Hope you all enjoyed the holiday.
Hi Stradee and teeny and all Wildclickers.
Glad to hear the holidays are great for you - it was for Patti and me.
One down and one more to go --- then on to a new year and may it be a prosperous one for us all.