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Save the Planet, Eat Your Dog

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the children-too-stringy dept.

Earth 942

R3d M3rcury writes "New Zealand's Dominion Post reports on a new book just released, Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living. In this book, they compare the environmental footprint of our housepets to other things that we own. Like that German Shepherd? It consumes more resources than two Toyota SUVs. Cats are a little less than a Volkswagen Golf. Two hamsters are about the same as a plasma TV. Their suggestions? Chickens, rabbits, and pigs. But only if you eat them."

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942 comments

Good grief.. (5, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869193)

I think when your ultimate goal is to slaughter and consume .. an animal stops being a "pet". And would sure make an interesting dinner, as your daughter chokes down Fluffy, her pet rabbit.

I mean.. it's an interesting report.. but I don't think anything realistic has been proposed here. They may as well have proposed we treat our cars as pets..

Why even bother looking at this stuff.. there's all kinds of other areas that could realistically be addressed. For example phone books! The amount of resources spent printing and distributing something that 70% of the time probably ends up in a land fill untouched is astounding. I saw some documentary where they were taking core samples at junk yards.. there were literally layers of phone books.. they used it to date the segments..

Re:Good grief.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869319)

I think when your ultimate goal is to slaughter and consume .. an animal stops being a "pet". And would sure make an interesting dinner, as your daughter chokes down Fluffy, her pet rabbit.

Don't worry about your daughter now, she in a act of supreme environmental saving. Will eat you after your death.

Re:Good grief.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869341)

but I don't think anything realistic has been proposed here

So little imagination. The "proposal" is implied.

This gem of enviro-wennie research will rattle around among the cocktail parties of the jet-set ruling class until one of them becomes convinced they can make a big splash by regulating pet ownership in the name of the "environment." Expect this to appear first in San Francisco in the next few years in the form punitive pet taxes. Thereafter limits and outright bans will be created.

Except for horses. There won't be any meaningful limits on horse owners.

Re:Good grief.. (4, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869393)

That article makes no sense : an animal doesn't consume more natural resources than a car.
If you give your dog the left overs from the table , instead of throwing it in the garbage can , i can't see it consume any natural resources . And after digestion , a dog fertilizes the soil , so the resources are giving back the ground . That the cycle of life , and it works much better than how a car works.

And when your pet dies , you burry it , or maybe burn it , etc , but it's remains also come back to the ground.
Which will be the same of you eat your pet , but then it takes until you die to be completely returned to the soil.

Re:Good grief.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869427)

Meat, as a whole, is incredibly inefficient. The most inefficient is beef, and from there on down you go to pigs, lamb, etc, chicken is a lot lower, and kangaroos are one of the lowest of them all (game, plus no methane emissions).

Sure, if you're feeding it leftovers, that's fine. But, you're just transferring the cost away from the dog itself to 'food waste'. And whatever you call it, it's still bad for the planet.

Re:Good grief.. (2, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869501)

So based on the inefficiency of eating meat, I presume you would see big game hunting as the ultimate act of ecological conservation? :P

Re:Good grief.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869437)

And if your pet is a Labrador it will probably have a fair go at the table and any empty wine bottles as well. They truly are the canine garbage disposal.

Re:Good grief.. (4, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869549)

Yeah, it seems dodgy. Cost can be used as a first-order estimate of environmental impact. A $50 fuel bill has a the same order-of-magnitude environmental impact to a $50 food bill.

And don't forget capital and disposal costs. Dogs are pretty cheap to build (since they are self-replicating), and easy to dispose. SUVs are a bit more expensive.

I think it's safe to say that an SUV costs more to run than a dog. It also costs a lot more to purchase. Ergo, the SUV has a higher footprint.

Re:Good grief.. (4, Funny)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869425)

I've owned a dog and a Porsche.

With the amount of time I spent driving, fueling, polishing, and lovingly caressing that car... Yeah, I kind of did treat it like a pet.

Of course, the car was too big for my current apartment, so I had to buy a pair of motorcycles. I'm having a hard time training them to stay off the couch.

Re:Good grief.. (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869531)

driving, fueling, polishing, and lovingly caressing

You know what they say about men and their sportscars, right?

Another solution (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869199)

It sounds like the time for a modest proposal ;-)

OMG (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869201)

My offspring and their offspring probably have the eco-footprint of a coal-fired electric plant.

What to do...

Re:OMG (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869219)

Stop believing the man made global warming bullshit and get on with life.

Re:OMG (4, Funny)

brad3378 (155304) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869233)

My offspring and their offspring probably have the eco-footprint of a coal-fired electric plant.

What to do...

Well......
They say that it's a dog eat dog world.

Re:OMG (2, Interesting)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869415)

I agree. I'll kill and eat anyone who wants to eat my dog then.
That should strike enough fear into would be dog eaters to leave my dog alone. (sarcasm)

Re:OMG (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869505)

I agree. I'll kill and eat anyone who wants to eat my dog then. That should strike enough fear into would be dog eaters to leave my dog alone. (sarcasm)

Not only that, but you're most likely creating a bigger overall carbon footprint saving... ;)

Re:OMG (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869391)

Teach them to be frugal individuals. Reduce what you buy, re-use what you have and recycle any cans and bottles that you can. REcycling your cans can make you a decent amount of change that you can save for later. Bottles often have a few cents that can be recovered by recycling them. Turn off your lights when you're not using them, replace incandescent bulbs for high efficiency bulbs to save money on your electric bill. It won't eliminate your carbon footprint by any stretch but every last bit helps both environmentally and in monetary terms.

Re:OMG (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869411)

What to do...

Keep feeding them spicy food.

They'll be all the more appetising when civilisation collapses and we resort to cannibalism.

Re:OMG (1)

panthroman (1415081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869451)

Seriously, why is overpopulation rarely mentioned by environmentalists? Total human footprint = footprint per person x number of people. Why is all the focus on the first part?

In grade school, we learned that 'tribal peoples' were super environmentalist. Now, in a backlash against the cultural relativism (and historically-based guilt) I grew up in, folks like Dawkins argue that tribal people weren't environmentalists at all - they were just incapable of making such an impact due to their low population densities. But intentional or not, isn't that a killer way to lessen your impact?

It's high time folks stopped applauding huge families (I'm looking at you, religion...).

Re:OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869473)

My offspring and their offspring probably have the eco-footprint of a coal-fired electric plant.

What to do...

Forcibly sterilizing them and their offspring springs to mind.

Environmentalist nonsense (4, Insightful)

Maimun (631984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869209)

This new environmentalist religion is going too far!

Re:Environmentalist nonsense (4, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869247)

Many of the far-left environmental whackos seem more interested in destroying quality of life for humans than they do in meaningful environmental improvements.

Re:Environmentalist nonsense (0, Troll)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869369)

And many far-right free-market wackos seem more interested in preventing all government regulation of industry, even if that regulation would stop corporations from destroying the environment for short term profits.

I suggest meeting somewhere in the middle. I have two cats. :)

Re:Environmentalist nonsense (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869485)

A free market requires that everyone's property and individual rights be respected. Pollution and environmental damage are forms of rights violation so these "far-right free-market wackos" aren't so much free market as corporatist. To them environmental protection is not a priority but many such as myself argue that environmental protection is necessary for individual and property rights to be protected which is a requirement for any capitalist/free market to function properly.

Re:Environmentalist nonsense (4, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869503)

I have two cats.

So do I. And our four cats combined have a smaller carbon footprint than one environmentalist. If we're really serious about reducing CO2 by getting rid of redundant organisms, I know what I'd be getting rid of...

Re:Environmentalist nonsense (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869457)

You know, I consider myself to be somewhat of an environmentalist and sadly I'd have to agree with you. The left environmental movement seems to be using environmental concerns as a means to bash Capitalism rather than meaningfully protect the environment. I remember back in college talking to the local environmental group on campus and there was frankly, very little talk of actually protecting the environment and more talk about subsidies for "green jobs" and such. I left with a sense that the environmental movement as a whole was going down the wrong road. Instead of embracing the frugality of the economic right as a means to discourage waste, the movement has encouraged subsidies and general corporate welfare as the means. I don't believe that their strategy will improve environmental or economic conditions.

Re:Environmentalist nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869259)

no kidding. I saw compost the oxygen thieves that buy into this shit.

Pet food - mostly waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869213)

I'm not sure I buy the methodology. If you look at the ingredients in pet food, the first one is usually "meat byproducts" or something to that effect. Would the ingredients still be used if they weren't put into pet food?

And also, having pet animals to eat them is still worse for the environment than just growing plants for food instead.

Another suggestion (3, Interesting)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869217)

My suggestion is they can fuck off. I care more about my dogs (and cats, cockatiel, and tank of fish) than I do the rest of humanity.

And no, this isn't sarcasm.

Except that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869231)

you have a bird in a cage.

Re:Except that (1)

aldld (1663705) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869265)

Well, if you're having a bird as a pet, you sure as hell shouldn't be giving it freedom!

Respectfully disagree (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869343)

I believe if you can't be giving your bird freedom, you shouldn't be keeping it as a pet. My old friend, Peppy, only went in the cage at night for protection from the cats. Any bird that won't climb down and jump on your finger ain't much fun anyhow.

Re:Except that (4, Interesting)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869279)

Normally, I don't respond to people who have to hide behind being anonymous, but in this case I'll make an exception.

Actually, my tiel is fully flighted (no clipped feathers) and has the run of half the house or more. And while I'm sure you're going to give me some half-assed uninformed PETA sponsored song and dance about how they live better in the wild, I'll merely point out that cockatiels well cared for in captivity live *FAR* longer than they do in the wild.

Re:Another suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869235)

My suggestion is they can fuck off. I care more about my dogs (and cats, cockatiel, and tank of fish) than I do the rest of humanity.

And no, this isn't sarcasm.

My thoughts exactly!

Can we finally start denying it again? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869229)

So how ridiculous do these "sustainable" efforts have to get before real scientists can start denying this CO2 deal again?

Right now we are treated as holocaust deniers if we dare question if CO2 is really what we should focus on. Is the microscopic amount of CO2 release actually created by humans compared to the Oceans, Volcanoes, and Bacteria really significant enough to warm the globe? If a dog produces as much CO2 as a hummer? Come on people there is clearly more to climate change than CO2, can we change our focus already?

Re:Can we finally start denying it again? (5, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869359)

I don't get why this is such a difficult concept. Imagine a tank of water that is slowly leaking and getting refilled at the same rate. Now increase the refill rate slightly - and presto - the tank will eventually overflow even though the increased refill rate is "inconsequentially" larger to the normal rate. The CO2 ecosystem works in a similar way. If this has not blown your mind you should read up on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlinear_dynamics [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_systems [wikipedia.org].

Re:Can we finally start denying it again? (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869435)

I find each blanket I put on in winter makes me extra cozy. One blanket, okay. Two blankets, yay. Three blankets, toasty. Four blankets, warm snuggly bliss. Five blankets, okay, that's too hot.

We have the right number of blankets on the bed, we don't need to add any more.

The numbers of CO2 increase we're talking about is not something like 2%. It's something like 33%. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mauna_Loa_Carbon_Dioxide-en.svg [wikipedia.org]

"No Dog On Board" sign Makes SUV's Safe From ELF! (2, Insightful)

thinktech (1278026) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869239)

Excellent. Now I just have to put a "No Dog on Board" sign on my SUV and The ELF won't hate me anymore!

Well, they do (1)

dUN82 (1657647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869241)

How come this is a new idea, they have been doing this for years in Guang Dong Province,China, first dogs, rats, and now cats... I think i am gonna be sick picturing it!

Take away the pets and see its effect (3, Insightful)

linumax (910946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869253)

Take away the pets and see if energy consumption in fact goes down.

With no pets, instead of spending time playing with them, I'll turn on the TV, get in the car and drive around mostly to waste time, etc.

These results might be sound on paper, but I highly doubt real world would approve of them.

Re:Take away the pets and see its effect (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869283)

that's the entire point.. it's right there in the report.. your SUV uses half as much as your pet, your plasma uses under a tenth. Even if you did both at the same time it would be better. I think the point is: stop being an eco-nazi.

Re:Take away the pets and see its effect (2, Insightful)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869443)

Did anyone notice that 10km per year is pretty tame for driving? At my old job I commuted less than 30 minutes and was still putting on a lot more than that per year, by about 2-4 times as much actually.

Re:Take away the pets and see its effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869513)

I noticed, the New Zealand government says that the national average is 14,000km/year, and I know many people that easily do 30,000km/year. The report wouldn't be anywhere near as impressive if it read "Dog as bad as two thirds of a full-sized SUV"

What about emissions ? (5, Insightful)

MisterBuggie (924728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869261)

Okay, they compare them by how much land/energy it takes to produce the food/fuel. I would be interested how they came upon their figures for fossil fuels. But my main concern is that they never mention emissions. The main concern with cars isn't so much how much fuel they use, but how much pollution they put out...
Also, it seems they didn't factor in producing the vehicles, which also uses a lot of energy and puts out a lot of pollution. Factor those in and I'm sure pets will turn out much cleaner by orders of magnitude...
Oh, and did I mention pets are "biodegradable", unlike cars ?

More Pollution is Better (2, Insightful)

The_Quinn (748261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869399)

The process of life requires pollution. Not to be graphic, but life literally sustains itself by converting the environment (air, water, food) into pollution. On top of that, creating our comforts and pleasures require additional pollution.

The countries that pollute the least in the world are the countries with the shortest lifespans and the harshest living conditions.

The trick is not to eliminate pollution, but just remove it so it doesn't harm people. We are already quite effective at that. (And when we aren't it's usually due to a lack of property rights)

The longer and more comfortable a human life is, the more pollution is required.

The only way to eliminate pollution is to eliminate life itself.

Re:What about emissions ? (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869447)

Also, I don't drive 10km per year. I drive like 30-40km per year.

Re:What about emissions ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869543)

I strongly doubt that.
There's a thousand meters to a kilometer.

Are you seriously saying you drive ~110 meters/360 ft. per day?

Re:What about emissions ? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869465)

What about all the dog poop in public areas where my child has to watch out for when he plays? This runs off into the storm drains and in to the ocean which means temporary closure of our beaches? I think this is called pollution.

Re:What about emissions ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869545)

Then don't forget to factor in the carbon emissions of the pets as well. They're constantly spewing CO2, just like your SUV.

Re:What about emissions ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869559)

From the article:

They compared this with the footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser, driven 10,000km a year, which uses 55.1 gigajoules (the energy used to build and fuel it).

My guess is that building and producing the vehicle are synonymous.

Yes, it would be good to see how they arrived at the figures - my guess is you could get those calculations if you bought the book.

Stupid (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869267)

This argument sounds pretty stupid if you compare the German shepherd to the average American.

How about you try getting fatty to put down the McDonald's first.

Calm down guys (0, Flamebait)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869269)

Most ppl above me seem to be freaking out like hicks thinking the government is coming to take their guns. Its a joke guys. Its kind of interesting but they can't srsly suggest eating our pets.

Re:Calm down guys (5, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869301)

Most ppl above me seem to be freaking out like hicks thinking the government is coming to take their guns. Its a joke guys. Its kind of interesting but they can't srsly suggest eating our pets.

Pretty easy talk from a guy that has obviously had the government come and take away many of your vowels.

Re:Calm down guys (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869337)

Most ppl above me seem to be freaking out like hicks thinking the government is coming to take their guns. Its a joke guys. Its kind of interesting but they can't srsly suggest eating our pets.

Pretty easy talk from a guy that has obviously had the government come and take away many of your vowels.

He must have been to boingboing [wikipedia.org] recently.

Re:Calm down guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869321)

Most ppl above me seem to be freaking out like hicks thinking the government is coming to take their guns. Its a joke guys. Its kind of interesting but they can't srsly suggest eating our pets.

It isn't a joke... but it is hilarious. Hilarious in an outlandish, 'I drive my SUV three blocks to work everyday' kind of way.

Re:Calm down guys (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869339)

People keep chickens, turkeys and rabbits as "pets" all the time. Altough you shouldn't don't get too attached to the ones you're going to be having for dinner later. The type of pet someone gets is often influenced by economics. College students like me may opt for a cheaper gold fish or a hamster instead of a dog or a cat. If things get to the point where peoples' resources are strained, we'll probably see a major decrease in the popularity of larger, more costly pets in favor of smaller ones that are easier on the wallet.

Hello neighbour! (4, Insightful)

not_surt (1293182) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869271)

I'm sure the average neighbor consumes far more resources than most pets do. Also, I expect most people have a much larger supply of neighbors than they do pets, making neighbors the more sustainable alternative.

Plus, pets don't drive cars (1)

lullabud (679893) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869509)

Pets don't drive cars so there's no compound resource consumption going on. Eating neighbors definitely tops eating pets.

Stupid comparisons (5, Insightful)

Jeeeb (1141117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869281)

From TFA: "In a study published in New Scientist, they calculated a medium dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95kg of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to produce 1kg of chicken a year. This means it takes 0.84 hectares to feed Fido."

Isn't most of the food we give to dogs .etc. the remains of stuff that we produce but don't eat? Chicken necks, .etc. Seems like a very shallow method of calculation. Also I do hope in their book they go into a lot more detail about where they got those statistics!

hey compared this with the footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser, driven 10,000km a year, which uses 55.1 gigajoules (the energy used to build and fuel it). One hectare of land can produce 135 gigajoules a year, which means the vehicle's eco-footprint is 0.41ha – less than half of the dog's.

What a load of bullshit. We fuel SUVs using fossil fuels which adds to the carbon cycle, hence contributing to global warming. Now, if we were powering our pets of fossil fuels as well then we could easily compare them.

Re:Stupid comparisons (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869327)

The grains fed to farm animals and dogs are most certainly fertilized with fossil fuels.

Grass-fed beef and organic chicken are far too expensive for pet food.

Re:Stupid comparisons (1)

Jeeeb (1141117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869373)

The grains fed to farm animals and dogs are most certainly fertilized with fossil fuels.

Vast majority of the energy still comes from the sun. Good old photosynthesis. I'm sure if you were interested though you could compare the amount of fossil fuels used to power a car for a year vs the amount used to grow a years worth of food for a dog or whatever.

Bullshit (3, Interesting)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869449)

Grass-fed beef and organic chicken still have bits that aren't worth using for human consumption. What do you think happens to that.

The grains would be grown and left to rot regardless; farming is ridiculously subsidized.

Re:Stupid comparisons (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869331)

I did near on drive off the road when I heard this on the Radio early today. I have to agree that my initial thought was that it was a load of bollocks and it's really pissing me off, the simple one line statements that are spouted in generic media. My second thought was to ask, can you back that up? What about including factors such as, I'm more liable to walk my dog to the shops, than drive my car, but if I didn't have a dog I probably couldn't be assed.

These studies make a lot of brash assumptions!

Re:Stupid comparisons (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869335)

Now, if we were powering our pets of fossil fuels as well then we could easily compare them.

The food the pets eat (including the entire production cycle involving plant and animal ingredients, the transporation to your store, your transporting of it home, the packaging it's in, all of the overhead involved, and so on), the vet care they receive, the products you buy to make them clean, healthy, comfortable - all of those activities burn fuel. Lots of it. Unless your pet eats only stuff that you kill out in the back yard, your servicing of them is a huge resource burner.

Of course, it's not as bad as the combined effects of Soccer, Kayaking, and Rock Climbing. If people would just stop doing those things, we'd avoid all sorts of carbon emissions. Oh, and going to bars to drink. Seriously. What a waste of resources.

Re:Stupid comparisons (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869347)

Probably not true anymore in the 'west' that we give animals leftovers. Or at least not all of them. Though it might actually be better for them than what we actually feed them. The 'best' part of meat is hardly the most diverse, and packaged vegetables processed together aren't the greatest for all pets either. It may not be 'grade A' beef, but people, like one of the above posters who loves his dog more than most of humanity, will pay a premium to get fluffy and fido what marketing has told them is the best.

Re:Stupid comparisons (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869433)

Don't know, sounds like a really useful statistic to quote to Prius-driving dog owners. Mainly to confuse them. "You think you're saving the environment....Bwahaha"

10,000km per year? (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869285)

How typical is an SUV that is driven for only 10000km per year? That's what, less than 7k miles? Average mileage (in the USA is 12k miles or more).

This is just another "study" where the numbers have been "stretched" to make a point.

Re:10,000km per year? (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869363)

How typical is an SUV that is driven for only 10000km per year? That's what, less than 7k miles? Average mileage (in the USA is 12k miles or more).

This is just another "study" where the numbers have been "stretched" to make a point.

NZ is a lot smaller than the UK. The SUVs are smaller there too.

right, what's next? (4, Insightful)

itedo (845220) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869291)

This is ridiculous. Since I guess the human beings are the problem for the (broken) ecology, why not eat some to save the planet? There are over six billions of them, I guess China may start exporting some "human delicacy" (irony) :P

Theoretically they may be right, every higher developed creature has a thing called "basal metabolic rate" but that's the wrong model for determine effects of global warming. It's just stupid nonsense, although funny to read.

Cats (2, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869299)

They protect your food from vermin, and they decrease the demand for the poisons used to kill vermin.

I lived in an old rented house and cats were the only way to keep the mice out of our kitchen.

why carbon footprint for the living ? (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869305)

I thought the whole idea behind calculating these carbon footprints was to show how humans have changed the environment and how living things that need it ( yes others too ) are going to have problems. Why calculate the carbon footprint for pets ? They are the ones that will get affected by any environmental changes too. Maybe the title should have been how pet food factories are not green or something. Otherwise I can start calculating the carbon footprint of my cute neighbor and...

How about NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869309)

My family's pets serves a variety of functions. They're a form of exercise for the their humans. They're a burglar alarm (saving the carbon footprint on that) system. They're an activity monitor, saving electricity. They're an anti-varmint system, keeping poisons off our plants. They're a form of interior pest control, one dog is a rodent killer along with the cat. Our pets share our food, well after dinner scraps for snacks along with specific pieces of meat and selections of grains / vegetables chosen for their food preparation. So how do I calculate all that into a carbon and toxin footprint?

Bite me enviro-whackjobs. I'll keep my pets / companions (depending on your PoV) because they work with us AND make our family happier / healthier.

Not my dog (5, Insightful)

willoughby (1367773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869317)

My dog could land the Space Shuttle. My neighbors dog, however, is worthless. That's a dog who should be sacrificed for the environment.

Re:Not my dog (3, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869493)

My dog could land the Space Shuttle. My neighbors dog, however, is worthless. That's a dog who should be sacrificed for the environment.

If humans hadn't spent the last 1000 or so years breeding dogs to look goofy they might be running the show by now.

I'm writing a new book.. (1)

greywire (78262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869365)

..its called "Save the planet, Eat your neighbor".

Do you have idea what the carbon footprint of a human is?

Wouldn't it make more sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869381)

to say "Save the Planet, eat more plants in place of meat?" In terms of efficiency, I bet cows have a larger carbon footprint than my dog, and I'm more likely to eat fewer burgers than take a bite out of Fido...

Re:Wouldn't it make more sense (1)

SmoothriderSean (657482) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869445)

I know I'd be more interested in the carbon footprint and implications of a typical, modern vegetarian or vegan diet than in learning how guilty I should feel about a fish tank.

Do your part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29869405)

Slaughter all your pets, you eco freak hypocrites.

Interesting rhetoric - but a bit shortsighted (2, Insightful)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869455)

Actually, I'm surprised the authors stopped so early in their quest of comparing apples to oranges (with meaningless criteria, as it has been pointed out by others slashdot users). The next logical step would have been to put into perspective the energy footprint of children. Think of the children - and of how many 4WD vehicles you could drive for the same energetic price ! Well, they probably saved this metric for their next scientific article.

Environmentalism means losing your mind (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869471)

I'm fucking fed up with people absolutely losing their minds whenever the word "environment" is mentioned. Suddenly they're willing to buy stupid shit that makes no sense. People lose all objectivity, all ability to add up total cost of ownership and conversion and turn into sock puppets for large corps who are selling them fairytales about being green.

Shit like this wouldn't fly with a sane rationed well educated public:

1) Compulsory replacement of lightbulbs with more expensive technology "for the environment" (no it's not just because there's a huge profit to be made selling new technology at 20x the price, honest it's not). Never mind that LED technology has much more potential.

2) Creation of flimsy plastic bags that fucking fall apart so that you need twice as many to carry the same groceries followed by the removal of plastic bags with studier but still flawed and breakable "green" "enviro" bags which are now sold at large profit instead of being given away. Lets nickel and dime our customers to death in the name of the environment - but we couldn't possibly stop filling their mailboxes with dead tree junk mail. Fucking hypocrites!

3) Solar hot water systems that cost more environmentally and financially to produce, install, run maintain than their conventional counterparts, often require that they be supplemented/boosted by a conventional heater (so net negative gain in terms of production). Honest it's not about selling shit people don't need!

4) Water conservation and rationing. What a fucking joke. It's got nothing to do with environmental impact of building more dams and desalination plants and everything to do with the dollars it takes to do so. Water is not scarce on this planet. It recycles well if you don't abuse it badly with extremely noxious chemicals. The system is build to deal with the shit and piss of every creature on the planet. Anything short of sewage and noxious chemicals often can be reused if we weren't so skitish about grey water. Water as a scarce resource, and kids no longer being able to play in their back yards with a hose has nothing to do with environment and everything to do with politicians lining their pockets with taxes that should be spent on infrastructure.

Want to know what you can do to stop fucking the environment? No you don't need to fucking eat Fido. Don't have more than 2 kids in your lifetime. Want to be really good? Have just one. Not into kids? Don't let your birth control regime slip. The one reason we're fucking up there environment is that there's about 6.5 BILLION people and growing. That many of a species that without modern technology and medicine should by rights number in the tens or hundreds of thousands just isn't going to be sustainable. Yet we breed like we're insects and look for ways to live longer and longer (even if it means our quality of life is ass in old age).

But how does... (1)

lgbr (700550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869487)

But how does my German Shepherd compare to me? I certainly emit more than two Toyota SUVs with my CO2 spewing diesel truck, my heated house, my heated office, my lawn mower, my motorcycle... the list goes on. As big as my German Shepherd is, he breathes less than I do and he only eats dog food which is more CO2 friendly than all of the methane-producing-cow products that I eat. Perhaps I should teach him to hunt, that way he can start killing ducks. Or do like the police do and use him to start putting minorities in environmentally friendly prisons. He'll get carbon neutral damn quick.

Animals, including our pets, have as much right to our environment as we do. Their track record for the environment is far better than ours.

A couple of points (2, Informative)

laron (102608) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869523)

- If you are worried about the eco footprint of your dog, just reduce your own meat consumption accordingly.

- And as others have already pointed out, dog/cat food grade meat has not the same carbon foodprint as meat for human consumption.

- The comparison of eco footprints between pets and cars is flawed, as long as most cars run on fossil fuels. Pets need arable land, cars consume fossil fuels and add CO2 to the biosphere.

- Their math may be a bit off. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel/ [wikipedia.org] gives the example of 445.5 m2 of land for 47.4l Biodiesel. Scale that up to one hectar (10,000m2) and you get 10,652 Liters of Biodiesel. You either need a very efficient car to go 10,000km with that (1l/100km or 235 miles per gallon) or a vastly more efficient energy plant than rapeseed. (Apologies if I made a mistake, corrections are welcome)

Save the Planet, Eat Your Children (0, Redundant)

uarch (637449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869537)

Why not? They certainly must have a much bigger carbon footprint than the family dog.

interesting responses (4, Insightful)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 4 years ago | (#29869539)

I'm not saying that eating pets is viable or necessary, but I find the responses interesting. When people say "we might as well eat neighbors|kids|whoever" they are pretty much putting the lives of animals on the level, value-wise, with the lives of humans. I'm a shameless speciesist (or is it species chauvinist?) and I'm always jarred by people treating animals as if they're as valuable, as humans. I know people who would rather use prisoners for medical research than animals. Seriously.

This thing goes pretty deep, and always amazes me. I used to work in an ER, and I had to sew up a child's face after she was bitten by a dog. After she was discharged , I was criticizing the family for having a 100lb carnivore that was bred for aggression living in the house with their 4 year old child. One of my co-workers got really angry at me, saying "we don't know that that child did to provoke the dog! Did you even ask that?" She blamed the kid and sided with the dog. I was dumbfounded. It fascinates me that people can work alongside one another and have profoundly divergent value systems. I'd have been less shocked to find that an otherwise amicable co-worker belonged to the Aryan Nation than to hear her side with the dog over a mauled child.

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