Dogs Have Bigger Carbon Footprint Than SUVs?

Researchers advocate swapping household pets like cats and dogs for edible 'pets' like chickens or rabbits.

I suddenly feel the need to defend my sweet pup, Buffalo Bill Cody.


Two researchers from Victoria University found that, "The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year," New Zealand's Dominion Post reported.

The researchers, are professors Brenda and Robert Vale, and they've authored a provocatively titled book called, "Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living."

Firstly, I think it's great to consider the environmental impact of everything we do. But I'm not quite ready to kiss Buffalo goodbye. And here's why.

There are a few fishy things with their numbers. Although I don't disagree, of course, that our pets have an environmental footprint.

Their first contention that your dog is worse than your SUV has way too many variables. For one, they used a German Shepherd as their baseline, which weighs in around 70 or 80 pounds. And while I know there are 100+ pound dogs out there, I don't know a single dog owner with one. Maybe that's because I live in a city (a very dog-friendly one, though). Buffalo Bill is 40 pounds soaking wet and many of my friends have dogs that barely reach 8 pounds.

Also, they compare their baseline pooch to driving 10,000 km a year, which is only 6,250 miles. I think it would be awesome if everyone with a car only drove 6,000 miles a year, but the average American actually drives 12,000.

The most hilarious part of their research is that they advocate swapping household pets like cats and dogs for edible 'pets' like chickens or rabbits.

Here's quote from one of the professors:

Tara Lohan is a senior editor at AlterNet.
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