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environmental impact of dogs and cats

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Hereward
759730.  Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:46 pm Reply with quote

I may be mistaken in this, but isn't the meat used in pet food the leftover meat unfit for human consumption with the addition of non-meat byproducts? Unless there is another use for this waste, then the environmental impact of pet ownership seems to be distorted.

 
Zebra57
759778.  Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:56 pm Reply with quote

I was told by a vet that a dog can live as a vegetarian with no side effects. Therefore convert your dog to a veggie lifestyle. I was told that cats cannot as easily become veggie.

Does this warrant a klaxon for Sir Stephen?

 
Croupier
759786.  Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:19 pm Reply with quote

Hereward wrote:
I may be mistaken in this, but isn't the meat used in pet food the leftover meat unfit for human consumption with the addition of non-meat byproducts? Unless there is another use for this waste, then the environmental impact of pet ownership seems to be distorted.


True, but Stephen did point out that disposal of the carbon footprint culprit had to be legal. Humans are top of the carbon footprint chain. I'd sooner have four dogs, two cats and however many birds and wee beasties Bill Bailey has, if I had the money, time and space. You don't get that much affectionate response (anthropomorphism alert!) from an SUV.

Of course, there is an alternative. We just let our dogs run loose in fields of sheep, cows, whatever and let them catch their own food like they're supposed to. Cats naturally catch and eat birds, mice, rats and so on. Again, we come back to the human having the overall largest CF. If we want to keep pets, we have to provide for them.

As Alan pointed out, we are part of this world, created within it (depending on what you believe), so in the end it must work out ... ?

 
gerontius grumpus
759893.  Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:30 pm Reply with quote

My daughter suggested that a horse would be a more eco-friendly pet, despite the amount of land taken to feed them. They also double as a form of transport.
Perhaps the government should introduce a car scrappage scheme where they give you a horse in exchange for your old car.

 
Totoro
759912.  Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:13 pm Reply with quote

And as Stephen started to say, children are far more ecologically unsound than a dog. Of course, the point of the question is about legally disposing of the 'culprit' and there is not, as far as I'm aware, a legal way to dispose of children. :)

 
soup
759919.  Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:09 pm Reply with quote

Totoro wrote:
there is not a legal way to dispose of children. :)


We could impliment Tom Sharpe's post-natal abortion.

 
RLDavies
760095.  Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:41 am Reply with quote

Zebra57 wrote:
I was told by a vet that a dog can live as a vegetarian with no side effects. Therefore convert your dog to a veggie lifestyle. I was told that cats cannot as easily become veggie.

The canine family are naturally omnivores (but very heavy on the meat); felines are obligate carnivores. There are a lot of websites out there about vegetarian and even vegan pet diets, but a big warning sign is that most of these sites come from vegetarian/vegan campaigners rather than from vets.

Dogs apparently can survive on a carefully crafted vegetarian diet, especially if eggs and milk are allowed. Dogs' nutritional needs are very different from humans', and harder to support without the use of some animal products. The usual meat substitutes (soy, grains) tend not to be tolerated well by dogs, since their digestive systems are short and simple.

Cats require various nutrients (taurine, arginine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A, and several B vitamins) that come only from meat, and they also require a generally high-protein diet. Even the hardcore vegan campaigners admit that a cat on a non-meat diet will need to have daily supplements to avoid a rather nasty death.

 
Posital
760243.  Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:12 pm Reply with quote

soup wrote:
Totoro wrote:
there is not a legal way to dispose of children. :)
We could impliment Tom Sharpe's post-natal abortion.
Since immune disorders are on the increase - perhaps bubble-children would be an all-round solution?

How-to on the cheap.

 
Rumtopf
760257.  Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:21 pm Reply with quote

I was actually very surprised to see that whole Dogs vs SUVs meme on QI, being familiar with the claims and how questionable the numbers involved are. It definitely should have been more thoroughly researched. Bad elves! Get in your bed!

Here's an entertaining debunking of supposed issue: http://daily.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2009/11/02/dogs-vs-cars

 
Flash
760283.  Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:04 am Reply with quote

Rumtopf wrote:
It definitely should have been more thoroughly researched.

How do you know it wasn't, Rumtopf?

In fact we were aware of the criticisms you mention, re-researched the question in light of them, and satisfied ourselves that our line would stand up to scrutiny.

 
Untutored Eye
760316.  Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:07 am Reply with quote

Their numbers increase during heavy rain.

 
qimidyue
760385.  Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:40 pm Reply with quote

I don't know where to start with this ridiculous comparison of dogs with SUVs.

Apart from the dubious authenticity of the research (is it true that it was based on average mileage of 6,000 miles p.a. - not a good start to the comparison) on the footprints, it implies that if we got rid of the dog all that wasted meat not fit for human consumption would somehow disappear from the waste stream!?

Legal means of reducing footprint? The human consumption of meat is far higher than the pet: since when was it illegal to GO VEGETARIAN??

 
RLDavies
760390.  Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:00 pm Reply with quote

qimidyue wrote:
The human consumption of meat is far higher than the pet: since when was it illegal to GO VEGETARIAN??

Does being a vegetarian actually decrease the average person's environmental impact all that much? They're still using electricity, driving a car, living in a house, etc. And though not eating animal flesh, they're consuming more in the way of crops, which will have to be supplied from somewhere. If they're eating dairy products and eggs, there's still the keeping of chickens and cattle.

Not having a poke at the veggie brigade here; I'm genuinely curious as to whether it makes any real difference in the sort of environmental terms we've been discussing here.

 
qimidyue
760408.  Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:17 pm Reply with quote

post 760390
I'm not vegetarian (nor a dog owner for that matter) but it is often cited in favour of vegetarianism that to feed ourselves by growing crops or setting aside land to feed, for instance, cows for beef is incredibly less efficient in carbon terms than eating the crops directly ourselves.

The question was what was the one thing that the family illustrated could do to reduce its footprint, and the answer given was get rid of the dog; and this was based primarily on its meat consumption.

It just seemed to me that, if the meat consumption of the dog was such a big factor, the obvious answer of 'the family going vegetarian' was set aside in favour of the more headline grabbing (apples and oranges) comparison between their pet and their car (to compare possession of a living breathing 24/7 creature with a means of transport is pretty meaningless anyway).

I agree with you that there are so many other factors and it doesn't get away from the fact that our lifestyle is so unnecessarily inefficient in energy terms in so many ways - the rather greedy SUV being one example, wasting about 25% more energy than we need on our homes is another (plus no end of ways that anyone can find the facts about these days)...

..but it just seemed to not do the elves any credit to use rather dubious research to, in effect, justify more profligate wasting of a finite resource we are already using more than our fair share of, just for an amusing QI "fact".

Don't want to sound grumpy green, but at least lets not mislead everybody, please :-)

 
Ion Zone
760423.  Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:54 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
And though not eating animal flesh, they're consuming more in the way of crops, which will have to be supplied from somewhere.


We eat way less than cows. Producing 1kg of beef takes around 13kg of grain and 30kg of hay

Quote:
At present, the US livestock population consumes more than 7 times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population (11). The amount of grains fed to US livestock is sufficient to feed about 840 million people who follow a plant-based diet

Quote:
Turkey, also a grain-fed system, is next in efficiency, with a ratio of 10:1. Milk production, based on a mixture of two-thirds grain and one-third forage, is relatively efficient, with a ratio of 14:1. Both pork and egg production also depend on grain. Pork production has a ratio of 14:1, whereas egg production has a 39:1 ratio.

 

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