Sunday, 29 November 2009
Eat your dog
The authors of a provocative new book have bad news for animal-lovers: pets are bad for the planet. They consume vast amounts of precious resources and produce mountains of noxious waste.
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 10,000 km a year in a 4.6 litre Land Cruiser. They calculated that the modern dog chows through about 164 kg of meat and 95 kg of cereals a year.
Here are the eco-footprints of the family pet each year as calculated by the Vales: German shepherds: 1.1 hectares, compared with 0.41ha for a large SUV. Cats: 0.15ha (slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf). Hamsters: 0.014ha (two of them equate to a medium-sized plasma TV). Goldfish: 0.00034ha (an eco-finprint equal to two cellphones).
If dogs are irresponsible energy users, I agree with a journalist from The Sunday Times who a few weeks ago wrote: “Then there is the old English sheepdog, perhaps the most environmentally friendly breed of all. If you can get hold of half a dozen or so and train them to lie down for long periods, they make very effective loft insulation.”