Enviros: ‘Feeding and caring for 800 million pets hurts Mother Nature’

The Globe and Mail reports:

Researchers say the global population of dogs and cats has passed 800 million, not to mention the many other weird and wonderful creatures (the most peculiar, according to one poll, being the Madagascar hissing cockroach) that share our homes.

And they all have to eat. This year, a federal report says, Canadians will spend more than $1.5-billion on nearly a half-million tonnes of dog and cat food (hissing cockroaches like it as well).

Globally, the figures are about 20 million tonnes, worth $55-billion (U.S.), says Kelly Swanson, a specialist in animal nutrition at the University of Illinois.

Producing that much nourishment comes at a cost, and Prof. Swanson is among the growing ranks of scientists so concerned about the ecological footprint of pet ownership that they have begun to quantify it, asking how green, rather than how much, is that doggie in the window?

Read more…

7 thoughts on “Enviros: ‘Feeding and caring for 800 million pets hurts Mother Nature’”

  1. Yes, Geoff, I know. I have never had a dog of my own, but I walked and baby-sat other people’s dogs and enjoyed their company. Dogs treat me as one of their own kind, on first sight. I am a real son of a bitch.

    Our children grew up among animals ranging from fish to cows and bonded with all of them. So none of us is annoyed by pets or has anything against them. But I see way too many childless people who treat their pets as children. Folks like you and I are not likely to engage in such surrogate relationships, since we already have children and know what it’s like. And what bothers me is that people commit to childless life too early. They typically have a career, a mate, and a pet. Then they grow old.

  2. Howdy Gene
    I had pets and children; had cats before we became parents and we’ve usually had some sort of animal since then.
    My daughter found something on the Internet that is an advantage of cats. If you’ve got a litter box, all the annoyance is in one place. When you have a dog, every day is an Easter egg hunt…

  3. “Producing that much nourishment comes at a cost”

    I presume the producers are compensated for the costs their incur.

    A bad choice of scare. I can think of a scarier one. Owning a pet messes up people’s reproductive instincts. It’s all right if you’re old, but there are lots and lots of young people who have pets instead of children.

  4. There is nothing weird about hissing cockroaches. Nothing! They’re fascinating and they really don’t eat much dog or cat food.

    While we are discussing cats and dogs, let’s add backyard chickens and the $500 chicken coop people with too much money spend for the pet chicken. I stopped shopping at a catalog retailer when they started marketing the $500 chicken coop. Really? Talk about insane excess.

  5. Pets need care and feeding, which does produce an ecological footprint. In a world whose Planetary Domestic Product is on the order of $80 trillion, a burden for pets of $55 billion is trifling indeed.
    Toothdoctor, I imagine I’d like your brother’s border collie better than this scientist-scold also.

  6. I would rather spend the evening here in Torontoi with my brother’s affectionate border collie that we are looking after ,it giving us his unconditional love, than with sad,mean-spirited eco-freaks .
    A pox on all their houses!

  7. Animal food isn’t made from top of the line human quality food, so is it better to throw out lower grade food people wouldn’t eat or feed it to our pets?

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