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Posted by on Jan 9, 2010 in Science & Technology | 8 comments

Must You Sacrifice Your Dog to Sustainability?

The question is apparently raised by a new book titled Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living which claims that “the carbon pawprint of a pet dog is more than double that of a gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle.” Eating Liberally, in a wonderfully titled post asking Is Fido the New Hummer, contacted Dr. Marion Nestle, NYU professor of nutrition and author of Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine and Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat to get the down low.

It turns out that Nestle has yet to read the book, “We ordered this book through Amazon in the U.K. but it is taking its own sweet time getting here.” So to answer she relies on the October 24 New Scientist, which reviewed the book and ran an editorial that begins, “If you really want to make a sacrifice to sustainability, consider ditching your pet – its ecological footprint will shock you.” Says Nestle:

Most dogs don’t eat the same meat humans do. They eat meat by-products—the parts of food animals that we wouldn’t dream of eating. PetFoodPolitics.pngThese are organs, intestines, scraps, cuttings, and other disgusting-to-humans animal parts.

We think pet food performs a huge public service. If pets didn’t eat all that stuff, we would have to find a means of getting rid of it: landfills, burning, fertilizer, or converting it to fuel, all of which have serious environmental consequences. If dogs and cats ate the same food we do, we estimate that just on the basis of calories, the 172 million dogs and cats in American would consume as much food as 42 million people.

But they don’t. They eat the by-products of human food production. If we want to do something to help reverse climate change, we should be worrying much more about the amount of meat that we ourselves are eating–and the amount of cereals we are growing to feed food animals–than blaming house pets for a problem that we created.

For the quantitative details of Nestle’s argument, I encourage you to CLICK THROUGH.

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Copyright 2010 The Moderate Voice
  • DaMav

    It’s like watching people double down on insanity.

  • But see, the people who think like this don’t want YOU to eat meat, either.

  • Jim_Satterfield

    The people who write things like that book are the kinds who don’t even realize how bad a name they are giving to people who want realistic steps taken to help the environment.

  • “The people who write things like that book are the kinds who don’t even realize how bad a name they are giving to people who want realistic steps taken to help the environment.”

    I have theorized in print that PETA is actually funded by the meat and fur industries to discredit the whole idea of vegetarianism and animal rights.

  • JeffersonDavis

    “The people who write things like that book are the kinds who don’t even realize how bad a name they are giving to people who want realistic steps taken to help the environment.”

    Amen, Jim. Amen!
    I’ve been an environmentalist/conservationist my entire life. When I see this type of crap from the far left, and worse, I see people actually buying into this carbon-based communist approach to environmentalism; it makes me sick.

  • DLS

    This is not surprising, though. Not only the specific example*, but that it incorporate eco-wackiness.

    Fido’s Carbon Footprint and Global Warming — Bah! Humbug. Kick the cat, eat the dog.

    * Who knows — maybe there’s also other lefty motives at issue like class envy, and related overreaction to celebrity stupidity. Apparently that’s the case with the Chihuahuas that were in the news recently. How long before certain yuppie and celebrity animal breeds will join pit bulls in being politically incorrect and even the “Evil SUV” of the Species Community? (Thus exempt from radical egalitarian protection and promotion it would receive otherwise)

  • DLS

    It would also help if _realistic_ steps to help the enviroment, for which we still are waiting, were advocated someday, sometime.

    • ProfElwood

      Forget the carbon stuff, but invest in some renewables yourself. Oil prices are going to shoot up as soon as it looks safe again.

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