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Old 22nd December 2009, 11:36   #1
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Wink Time to Cheer: A Dog pollutes more than a Car.

Hello Everyone,

I read this article in the TOI today and was really surprised. Read On:

Man's best friend could be one of the environment's worst enemies, according to a new study which says the carbon paw print 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-paw prints 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 claw print 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
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Old 22nd December 2009, 12:08   #2
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If this is a fact, then sit and calculate how much meat a human being consumes, how much cereal and veg he / she consumes, how much electricity, water etc he/ she uses + the fossil fuel consumption etc and then compare the carbon footprint of a human in comparison with any other animal.

It is clearly the Human Race that is the primary cause of all the chaos that our Planet Earth is facing at the moment - greed, depredation and waste of epic proportions is what we humans are guilty of, so lets not start blaming the poor 4-legged fellow creatures for the mess we are in and that we have created!

According to me such articles, while they may be scientifically derived or quasi-scientific, are simply sensation seeking in nature while trying to excuse the sorry behaviour of human beings!

Fine - we humans may be on top of the food chain and all that but that is certainly no excuse for us to ruin the entire environment around us!

In my opinion the Vales should both be taken out and shot!

Again in my opinion my pet dogs are certainly better examples of God's creatures than a lot of human beings I could name!

Last edited by shankar.balan : 22nd December 2009 at 12:11.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 12:23   #3
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And how much carbon units were wasted in doing these studies?
Im sure 4 children could have 2 time meals with that much for an year.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 14:01   #4
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Not sure if this article applies to India though.

In terms of population, there are lot more Indians than dogs

and Indians are breeding at a much faster rate than dogs

That also means, a dog may be more precious life.

Hence, the article is flawed.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 14:31   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDM007 View Post
And how much carbon units were wasted in doing these studies?
Im sure 4 children could have 2 time meals with that much for an year.
, This is such a dumb study. There are so many people dying of starvation every year and these guys want to do a study on how much animals are eating.

Where do they get such ideas from??
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Old 22nd December 2009, 15:04   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
, This is such a dumb study. There are so many people dying of starvation every year and these guys want to do a study on how much animals are eating.
Where do they get such ideas from??
Some numb-skull sitting in a developed country, he has all the time in the world and money as well & nothing to worry about, then why not do a study on how much is the 'claw' or 'paw' print of a dog or a cat? If he is that much worried, he should start eating dogs to save mother earth.

Global warming (later called climate change because there is no warming ) is a scam, and nobody should start worrying about how much carbon one leaves behind.

Last edited by clevermax : 22nd December 2009 at 15:14.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 15:07   #7
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Reminds me of the statement by George Bush that Indians eat too much!

I think the article is flawed to its root. Comparing the energy needs (carbon footprint) of a car to an animal (dog) is like comparing the exhaust from our vehicles to our own equivalent of exhaust (couldn't be more specific than this)!

Growing vegetables and animals for consumption may use up more energy than building a car and driving it for 10,000kms. But, vegetables and animals are biodegradable in every way, a car's exhaust (or even the car itself) is NOT!

Growing vegetables helps "green" the environment a bit, and has Oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. Animals, including dogs, play their role in the food chain.

I'm disgusted at the results of that so called research.

Cheers!
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Old 22nd December 2009, 15:34   #8
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This is indeed funny, Now what, taking paw prints of each and every animal and eliminating them because of our greedy needs? I remember the president of veninzualla telling the rest of the world to take a long walk when he was questioned about distroying the rain forest. His arguement was, every country is blessed with some kind of natural resource and ours is this rainforest, If you want us to stop salveging it then give us the money we earn from it and we will stop, else you can happily continue flying your kites.

Pramod
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Old 22nd December 2009, 15:44   #9
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+ 1 Shankar,

though i do not agree to idea of shooting him.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 15:48   #10
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Sure looks like some disinformation campaign by vested interests/lobbies!
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Old 22nd December 2009, 15:57   #11
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Was thinking about it over a tea. I have another interesting topic to give to this dude for his research pleasure.

"Amount of greenhouse gases are produced per year by human farting all over the world and its impact on global climate change"

Who knows, may be the research findings will inspire some other dude to invent a cat-con for humans to reduce the greenhouse emissions. Then after a while the govt. will make it mandatory, and then folks will start discussing about illegally fitting FFEs and stuff. There will be yearly PUC checks too.


Last edited by clevermax : 22nd December 2009 at 16:05.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 16:00   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DueLLeR View Post
Comparing the energy needs (carbon footprint) of a car to an animal (dog) is like comparing the exhaust from our vehicles to our own equivalent of exhaust (couldn't be more specific than this)!


Quote:
Originally Posted by clevermax View Post
"Amount of greenhouse gases are produced per year by human farting all over the world and its impact on global climate change"


Duellar said this in humble words . I think you have just given some mad sientist his theisis project .


EDIT: SOme body gotta stop clever dude he is getting very creative about it.


Pramod

Last edited by pramodkumar : 22nd December 2009 at 16:04.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 16:59   #13
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Guys hold on their studies apply to western methods of raising pets which are becoming popular In India as well. The Carbon footprint is hight because Dog is being fed special stuff created and sold in store.


So only if they can remove dependency on packaged food for Cats and dogs and ofcourse to themselves a lot of carbon footprint can be eliminated. This is the reason why average CO2 per head is so low in India. Even if we normalize for an upper middle class consumption pattern it would be significantly lower then western family.

In fact in western studies Dairy farming is shown as one major culprit but the way animal husbandry is done in west ( industrial manner on large tracts of land) and in India ( Cow is just like a Pet in village household ) the carbon impact differs.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 18:42   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amitk26 View Post
Guys hold on their studies apply to western methods of raising pets which are becoming popular In India as well. The Carbon footprint is hight because Dog is being fed special stuff created and sold in store.

So only if they can remove dependency on packaged food for Cats and dogs and ofcourse to themselves a lot of carbon footprint can be eliminated. This is the reason why average CO2 per head is so low in India. Even if we normalize for an upper middle class consumption pattern it would be significantly lower then western family.

In fact in western studies Dairy farming is shown as one major culprit but the way animal husbandry is done in west ( industrial manner on large tracts of land) and in India ( Cow is just like a Pet in village household ) the carbon impact differs.
This is funny. How much carbon footprint can be eliminated in this way? ever wondered how much percentage of global Co2 emissions are because of humans (his pets included of course) and their technology? Its way too less than the natural sources.

To be precise, only 0.28% of the green house emissions are human additions, rest come from ocean biographic activity, volcanoes and decaying plants and other biological stuff etc.

The Co2 in atmosphere is increasing anyway, but the globe is not warming up. In fact, the globe is getting cooler from the beginning of this decade.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 20:03   #15
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I am not an animal lover, but come on. This is all human's fault. Dog never wanted to be carried in a house, fed quality meat multiple times a day and carried to pet smart for fancy dog caps and jackets. It's simply irresponsible bringing up of dogs by humans. We could go a step farther and buy them their own personal vehicles and then add that totheir footprint.
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