Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Study: A Dog or Cat Pollutes more than a SUV

Planet killers
From Italian News Agency AGI (Google translation + editing)

(AGI) - Rome, August 18 - How much pollution results from keeping a dog? More than a SUV. A paradox? Perhaps, but in terms of resource consumption, domestic animals have a high impact on the environment. This surprising information about our 4-legged friends is in the new issue of Focus, the monthly magazine directed by Sandro Boeri, on newsstands starting this week. Citing the results of New Zealand research which shows that to feed a dog of medium size requires 164 kg of meat and 95 kg of cereals per year when translated into an ecological footprint (the portion of land needed to produce food and dispose waste) equals 0.84 acres. The ecological footprint of a SUV, however, is equal to 0.41 hectares, an estimate that includes the energy needed to build it and drive it for 10,000 km a year. In short, man's best friend seems to have more of an impact on the environment than a highly polluting vehicle. Not only that, the ecological footprint of a dog even exceeds that of many nations: e.g. 0.8 hectares per capita average ecological footprint in Asia. Between diet and gadgets, then, a "Western" dog consumes more planetary resources 'than does much of humanity.' Not much better for cats, whose impact in terms of pollution (0.15 hectares) coincides with the footprint produced by small car. The reasons for such a waste of energy and resources are to be found in the industrial economy that revolves around pets: intensive farming of red meat for the big dogs, plants for the production of food for cats and other small animals , waste disposal (litter for cats, for example, not all biodegradable), the production of "unnecessary" items such as winter coats and plastic toys. The way out? For dogs, a diet free of red meat and for the cats a diet of fish waste. And for the bosses, a life more 'ecologically energy efficient.'

And they didn't even include the 'greenhouse' effects of all that methane & CO2 dogs and cats produce. Hello EPA- are you listening?!


  1. May I suggest an errata in the article?

    0.41 HECTARES equals ~1 ACRE, therefore, a dogs CFP (carbon foot print) is slightly LESS than that of an SUV travelling 10,000km. (Here in Oz, average yearly travel is taken as 20,000km, according to Glasses Car Guide)
    So an Aussie SUV would have a CFP of 0.82 Hectares (2.03Acres)

    regards Baa Humbug

  2. Thanks baa humbug. I will drive my cat to do the shopping from now on.