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Time to eat the pets?

Justin Rowlatt | 08:00 UK time, Sunday, 15 November 2009

mastiff_afp595.jpgOK. Let's imagine that you've heard all the talk about this crucial conference in Copenhagen and you've decided that you want to do your bit and clean up your carbon footprint. So, where to start?

That's what my wife and I were asking ourselves a couple of years ago after I, rather recklessly, agreed to accept a BBC challenge to try to cut the family's greenhouse gas emissions.

Here's how we got on and - as you will see - we started our eco-makeover with our home - a pretty sensible place to begin, as our homes are together responsible for a quarter of this country's carbon emissions.

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Trying to make my home more carbon efficient taught me a very important lesson - the only way to get significant cuts is if you look at all aspects of your home.

You can't just put in a bit more insulation, you also need to turn down your thermostat, change the bulbs, get thicker curtains etc, etc, etc...

But one area of our home lives always tends to escape under the ethical radar - our pets. I think it is time to give them the "ethical" attention they deserve.

First, a few pet related facts:

  • The most popular pets are, overwhelmingly, cats and dogs
  • According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association dogs sneak into the number one spot - six million UK households (23% of the total) own a dog
  • Cats are pretty close behind though, 5.2 million UK households have at least one cat (20%)
  • In terms of actual numbers our affections are evenly split - we own eight million of each

That's right 16 million dogs and cats!

I know what you are thinking... and the average dog is reckoned to produce half a tonne of the stuff in its 10-year life.

But it is not what comes out of our dogs and cats but what goes into them which presents the biggest environmental dilemma of pet ownership.

What I am talking about is our pets' environmental "pawprint".

A big dog like a Labrador or Alsatian consumes around 1,000 calories a day - half that of an adult woman.

And, because dogs (and cats) are primarily carnivorous, they get those calories from the most carbon intensive of foods - meat.

Justin's children with their pet guinea pigsThe issue of carbon pawprints has been in the news recently thanks to a new book: Time to Eat the Dog.

The authors have attempted to estimate the environmental impact of a range of popular pets.

Their most startling conclusion is that dogs are significantly more damaging to the planet than SUVs.

The authors claim that keeping a medium-sized dog has the same ecological impact as driving a 4.6 litre Land Cruiser 10,000km a year.

They use a rather unusual method of calculating environmental impact.

Instead of measuring emissions of CO2, or CO2 equivalent, they calculate the literal footprint or "global hectare" (gha) - the amount of land it takes to support a given activity.

So they work out that constructing and driving the Land Cruiser for a year takes 0.41 gha.

Growing and manufacturing the 164kg of meat and 95kg of cereals a border collie or cocker spaniel eats every year takes about 0.84 gha.

A bigger dog such as a German shepherd consumes even more - its pawprint is more like 1.1 gha.

By their reckoning, that is more than the environmental footprint of the average Indian person, who uses just 0.8 gha of resources.

If you are a multiple dog owner you are in even more trouble. Two big dogs have a bigger carbon footprint than some British citizens.

According to the book the average resident of Cardiff requires just 1.89 gha.

The average American, by contrast, requires a whopping 9.5 gha.

You will be glad to hear that other pets are not so damaging.

A cat needs 0.15 gha, a hamster 0.014 gha, and a canary 0.007 gha.

The most carbon efficient pet is a goldfish. Its tiny "finprint" requires just 0.00034 gha.

So how can we get the companionship and pleasure of pet ownership without it weighing too heavily on our carbon consciences?

The authors have an answer to that - we need to start eating our pets!

They suggest that instead of dogs and cats we should keep chickens and rabbits which will keep us company and make a tasty dinner too.

What will you do with your pet dog now you've been convinced that he or she is an enemy of the environment?

The book draws a blank here. It doesn't have a single recipe for dog!

So if you are planning to pop your pooch in the pot here's a link that will tell you how to make a really tasty dog stew.



Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Rather than waste their time trying to convince pet lovers that they should eat their pets for the common good, perhaps the authors of the report could drastically reduce their own carbon footprint by eating each other.

  • Comment number 2.

    But the pet food industry partially deals with the by-products of the human meat industry, so you need to study the 'opportunity carbon' involved in the production of pet foods compared with that of alternative methods of waste and offal disposal. (I accept that the human food chain is currently too meat-intensive).

  • Comment number 3.

    I completely disagree with you. All these climate changes and issues are because of humans. We're the ones who were frivolous and irresponsible with this planet and we're the ones who contributed to greenhouse gas emissions. Your "solution" is a way of avoiding this reality, because instead of encouraging people to lower their carbon footprint, you are influencing them to take the easy way out and "blame" it on their pets. Animals have done nothing wrong to this world, and just because they have no voice to speak with, it doesn't mean humans have the right to do as they please with them. You can go ahead and buy a goldfish, but I am going to keep my dogs.

  • Comment number 4.

    Or, and this might be a crazy idea, take responsibility for our growing population and stop breeding! A point is made here but it seems like everything from pets to obese people are being blamed for climate change when overpopulation is the massive elephant in the room!

    People need to consider just having one child, or none at all, until we have a sustainable population.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm absolutely incandescent with disbelief.

    Apart from "Carbon Footprints" being the biggest fundamental rip off since "The OZONE" (and where did that go, huh?)..., you actually get PAID to write this nonsense?

    In ten years time, no one will remember all the carbon nonsense, pretty much like we've all forgotten about every other global threat we ever INVENTED.

    The earth itself throw up billions of tons of EVERYTHING into its own atmosphere, constantly, via volcanos and every other type of eruption or emission the earth might have.

    What NO government will tell you is that we CANNOT change that fact. Our puny efforts make no difference whatsoever - they are just a money-making scheme dreamt up to generate more penalisation and tax.

    Government income. That's all this rubbish is about.

    Now, reduce the carbon footprint of a cat you say?


  • Comment number 6.

    "A big dog like a Labrador or Alsatian consumes around 1,000 calories a day - half that of an adult woman." - That means, eating your wife makes double the effect? ;)

  • Comment number 7.

    Ridiculous! Humans and animals have been pumping out carbon since time immemorial with absolutely no adverse effects. The real problem? Oh! It's fossil fuels!

  • Comment number 8.

    1.1 gha for a dog & 9.5 gha for the average American? Suggest we start with the Americans!

  • Comment number 9.

    I feed my cats and dogs organic, free-range pet food in the same way I try to source these products for my family (I am also vegetarian). There are alternatives out there to intensively farmed meat for animals and humans. I agree with a previous poster though, that until we get our population under control there is no use blaming animals for the carbon footprint that we impose on them. I'd like to know the difference between the carbon footprint of a dog and a human child for the span of their natural lives? That would surely put paid to this ridiculous notion that dogs are destroying the planet.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sorry, just not convinced on climate change. Not that long ago these same scientists were warning of an approaching ice age! A thousand years ago, there WAS no Greenland ice cap, it was a place of forest and lush pasture (hence the name).

    But for those who do believe (since eco-environmentalism is now classed as a faith) the answer is obvious. As per Ialexa, don't have any children and save the planet!

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Spot on Ialexa! There are simply too many humans; so when the next climatic downturn comes (and yes SD23, come it will) there won't be enough caves to go round and thus nature will redress the balance. At that point the survivors may well eat the dogs as well as each other, but to do so now might be a little premature.

  • Comment number 13.

    What an absurd article. For most pet-owning households, their pets are not just animals, they are a member of the family! So perhaps we should start eating our own children as well to reduce carbon emissions?

    We humans are to blame for excess in carbon emissions. We like SUV's, but we don't need them. A dog/cat or any other pet simply eats in order to survive and exist.

    So is their existence a threat to humanity and earth because they leave a carbon 'paw-print' by simply, erhem, eating food?

  • Comment number 14.

    Wow, wonder how many tons of co2 was produced in the creation of that book! Hope its made of recycled toilet paper. I bet its backed up by the anti-pets group behind the friendly political face of PETA that the bbc seems to think is a reasonable organisation!

    As other commentors have said, its not pets that are the problem, its humans. The world needs a dramatic drop in population if its to become sustanable. Don't give me all that claptrap about technology saving the world. Simply too many humans, too many resources being used.

    Look at Ethiopia for example....a country that relies of charity from the rest of the world to feed its population. Is it really any better off since the 1980's? No, next time there is a big drought there, more will suffer and die than before because their population is nearly double what it was back then.

    I hate to see people suffer, but its bought on by their own inability to think beyond their own desires to have a family.

    I lay a huge chunk of blame at the catholic church too for the povety and suffering that goes on in many countries around the world due to its policies on birth control. It needs to radically change its attitude.

    Well if you think the problems are bad now, move forwards 20 years, add another billion people, degrade a huge amount of farmland, and then possibly no longer have the oil resources to farm intensively like we do now.

    We're like bactera living right at the edge of the petra dish's capability to sustain major incident could push us over the edge.

    Don't forget that the uk cannot feed its own population now with the land here......

    Save the world, eat a Human a day!

  • Comment number 15.

    Dogs have a lower carbon footprint than humans. So we should have puppies instead of babies.

    No need for bottles, nappies, babyclothes, etc (lots of carbon there)
    Easier to house train
    Can be transported in the boot of your SUV legally
    Can be left outside the shops
    Can be kept in a kennel.
    No need for games consoles, just give them a stick and they are happy.

    So that's it. Ban babies, especially American babies.

  • Comment number 16.

    Now that it is too late to not publish this, would you please include in the main article a warning to readers that the claims made by the authors of the book you reference do not hold any water?

    See: for a thorough debunking. Please don't think this is some climate sceptic waffle - grist is pro-environmental as am I, but it is painful to see the vital credibility of the climate change narrative damaged by uncritical reporting of a gimmick book.

  • Comment number 17.

    dear friends it is a rediculas idea,what will be next start eating your familey and friends to save the world.your family,friends,pets are the world.confusing is't it.That means eat the world to save it from who please think.answer is in the question,don't eat the world to save the world.Less consumption is the magic formula not more.
    thank you

  • Comment number 18.

    What an excellent idea. Woof Yum Miaow Yum Cheep-cheep Yum-Yum!!

  • Comment number 19.

    Save the world what an over confidant idea by us humans.MOTHER EARTH has it's own self recovery mechanism.we don't have to eat our pets.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think it is cruel and an insult to dog lovers to even suggest such a thing as to eat your dog. I have a black labrador that I love to bits, and for you to say here's a link that will tell you how to make a really tasty dog stew, makes me feel SICK

  • Comment number 21.

    As the government invented the carbon footprint ( while wanting to build more coal fired power stations ? ) We would be better of eating the politicians.

  • Comment number 22.

    We need to look at the meat industry as a whole.

    Dogs and cats need meat to live. Humans do not. It is easier to say 'no' to an SUV than to the life of a dog.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    The video is superb. The text, though tongue in cheek, misses the point. The solution to energy consumption is to stabilize the world population. Reduce infant mortality so that parents have fewer children because they are no longer afraid many won't survive to adulthood. That is an achievable goal. Raising your own meat–or eating your pets–is not energy efficient except when done on an industrial scale. There are drawbacks to the latter as well (the U.S. is a prime example). The human body is an amazingly efficient device. The problem is, we want to do more than just survive. Does Mr. Millband propose a new Stone Age?

  • Comment number 25.

    I think we should reverse the process. Dead humans would make excellent canned dog meat. I, for one, would be quite happy to know my body would serve some useful purpose when I'm gone! Think: no cemeteries which are a waste of land, emit methane from the decomposing bodies and pollute ground water; no crematoria which consume fossil fuels and produce air pollution. Just lots of happy, well-fed, dogs and cats.

  • Comment number 26.

    This article is exactly the sort of trite nonsense which is damaging the reputation of the climate change movement. Dogs are sentient living beings - if we start assigning worth on the sole basis of carbon footprint we really are done for. I know that my dogs have as much right to life as I do. I do everything I can to live ethically and sustainably (I'm vegan) and I also take great care in how I source the the dogfood I feed my 2 jack russels. Shame on the author of this article for promoting such callous eco-puritanism.

  • Comment number 27.

    Normally, I would take a story like this with a pinch of salt but I have literally taken it with a pinch of salt; a pinch of salt, several bay leaves and some medium curry powder! Thanks Ethics Man!

  • Comment number 28.

    It is all well and good asking/telling the general public to energy save by turning the heating down, turning lights off etc. I do my bit to energy save but also so I dont waste my money!

    Have you ever driven past a shop or an office complex at night and seen all the lights on? Why do the lights need to be left on? for us to see empty desks! Why are these companies not being told to turn their lights off etc? Why do we need lights on the motor ways? we have lights on our cars! why do we need to have shop lights on after they have closed? We do not need to see empty hairdresser chairs, nor do we need to see shop window displays etc! I think the government needs to address this situation with the big corporations! Why do we have to have BIG ADVERTISEMENTS lit up? If all the unused office/shop lights were turned off that would save a load of energy!

  • Comment number 29.

    A good article to help people consider the environmental impact of pet ownership - in fact first I have seen.

    Too many people who are passionate about their pets are leaving comments in rage and disbelief. The point is that we should understand that all areas of our life should be subject to environmental considerations - frankly people who shout about "better" things to eat/burn/ban rather than our pets have missed the point completely.

    Let's not forget that the people who are insulting the author or the article have overlooked the fact that keeping a pet is a luxury, not a necessity (I have pets, cars and motorcycles, so I make my informed choice too). More to the point, people should be grateful to realise that keeping their cats and dogs may have similar impacts to running an additional vehicle or raising a child. If we are measuring the carbon footprint of our shopping and our machinery, why not our pets too?

  • Comment number 30.

    The BBC website is now not only giving space to the crass views of this author but is failing to moderate offensive comments such as those from Mmm_Pooch_Curry. More proof of how the BBC's standards have slipped in recent years and how any sort of offensive remark can be legitimately broadcast regardless of the offence it causes.

  • Comment number 31.

    I find it quite amazing that so many readers of this blog could completely fail to miss the point of this article, and so must assume that none of them are regular readers and must have stumbled across it from the main news page. Justin is not encouraging you to eat your pets, and neither is the book he mentions which everyone has an opinion on but nobody has read. It is all about thinking sustainably, and being prepared to take responsibility for your choices... both things that are alarmingly out of fashion at the moment. Just as we should consider the ethical impact of having 'x' number of children (and that covers socioeconomic as much as environmental) we should also consider the impact of having pets, and how we raise them.
    The people who are incandescent and feel sick after reading this article need to consider that in many parts of the world the animals you treat as pets are also raised for food. Those are not born pets, they are animals. Pets are the animals we adopt and share our lives with, and no one is suggesting you turn around and eat those. Sometimes I wonder if people think you would be attacked and your pet eaten in front of you if you took your dog for a walk in Thailand. It's no different from keeping a pig as a pet in this country.
    The only workable solution to the socioeconomic and environmental problems we all face is for each of us to make our own informed and ethical choices. I drive a 4.2L supercharged British car to work, about on par with a really big SUV on emissions. To some people this is horrifying - how can I be so inconsiderate to the environment - but to me this is not an issue at all because I only drive 2,000 miles a year, and work from home most days. My car purchase keeps more families in a job, brings more money into our shared economy, and provides more tax revenue to our services than if I had a 1L Japanese enviro-car. I also emit far less into the environment than most car owners in a year.
    Ethical choices doesn't mean living in an insulated tent with its own waste-to-fuel bio generator, and eating nothing but leaves and drinking rain water. It means thinking "Could I be affecting someone else's quality of life by making this choice? If so, can I make it better?" That someone else could be a person, a family, a country, or a pet.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Bad idea.

    Remember the mad cow scare?

    Wednesday will mark the 10th anniversary of our costliest-ever food scare, unleashed by Stephen Dorrell's claim that there might be a link between eating beef and the brain disease CJD. The Observer predicted a million dead by 2016.

    That's right, the same newspaper that is promoting that daft silly nonsense about global warming.

  • Comment number 34.

    Most of the responses completely miss the point. It's not a matter of "blame the pets", as opposed to humans taking responsibility; pets are, by definition, animals that humans have chosen to domesticate. It's your choice to have pets - however severe the environmental consequences may or may not be, responsibility resides ultimately with the owners. In the long run, why shouldn't people be persuaded to have smaller pets, like they're being persuaded to have smaller cars?

  • Comment number 35.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    I often link to BBC stories on the NYTimes.

    May I do the opposite and link to my comment (#6 on the blog) there:

    Wht don't we eat Fido?

  • Comment number 38.

    Good article. Thank you for that.

    Sadly though, reading through the comments, I would say we're doomed as a species to go through the full scale effects of global warming. Between the doubters and those who refuse to accept that we need a holistic approach (not just THE car or THE holiday or THE uninsulated home or THE dog) and that this will entail giving up many of the luxuries we have come to see as normal, I can't see how we're going to solve this problem.

    Get real people, historically it is NOT the norm for the average person to have a horse/car, a dog/cat, 2 holidays in Spain a year, a house to themselves, a full complement of power hungry gadgets and all the rest. Historically, the norm is accommodation you share with 8 other family members, one bath a week, less than 5 sets of clothing, few holidays abroad, a family pet or two, one car/horse (if any), one tv (if any)... When you people compare your lives to those of our ancestors, next time remember that whereas they shared most things, we have a "one each" approach to everything.

    Bizarrly, the rapid spread of swine flu is perhaps the single biggest hope for mankind. One day, there will be a bug that we can't heal...

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm always amused by those who take their carbon cutting logic to the extremes without realising the ultimate conclusion of their logic.
    Carbon dioxide is a by product of life,not only do we,along with all other animals,breathe out the stuff but everything we do,which consumes energy, produces carbon dioxide.Whether its buying food,going to the gym/for a run,turning on the tv,going to school,using medicine.

    We should reduce the carbon impact of activities we have/want to do rather than cutting out these activities completely.How far do you want to take the logic,no pets? no unnecessary activities?no leisure activities?having one child instead of two?having no children?having no people?

  • Comment number 40.

    I am not sure about the scientific figures, but to a good extent I don't think they matter. I went out for a walk yesterday (I have a cat, no dogs) and was suddenly struck by how much we impact on our surroundings, with our houses, cars, tarmac roads and inclination to think that we are the most important thing in the Universe. Well, I think that we are wrong to think that. Nature might be patient and take quite a lot of abuse, but the pratty view that we have the right to do whatever we want is, in my view, childish, ill-informed, arrogant, selfish and disrespectful. No one wants a neighbor like that behaves like that, and I would have thought that if Nature did strike back, this would be a while coming.

  • Comment number 41.

    Another way to look at things. I figure this is tongue in cheek. In the same vain as the Pro Global Warming people see things this is a Parody of them. Though raising any animal for comfort or food takes more energy than we get in return. That said A bowl of Chili is just as good with the Beans and any meat we put into it.

    Personally I use wild meat as we have so much of it here where I live it is much cheaper and already grown without any extra help from man.

  • Comment number 42.

    I simply cannot understand the unrealistic attitude of some contributors here. When the time comes (and it will) that it becomes necessary for humans to consume those animals that are currently treated preferentially, you WILL do it in order to survive.

    For the Creationists - God gave us dominion over the animals

    For the Darwinists - We are at the top of the food chain

    In the interest of balance, perhaps we could get Fido's contribution to the debate?

    What's that you said? Woof?

    Ah, that explains everything.

  • Comment number 43.

    you have animals for food not your pets, the idea of mrs smith down the road cooking and eating her pet poodle fluffy is rather sickening.
    a skinned cat has the same appearance of that of a skinned rabbit so many a greedy butcher may well have sold cat for rabbit to the unsuspecting customer.
    there are those that just dont like animals as pets and would welcom eating dogs, cats etc but to be blunt the english are supposed to be a nation of dog lovers and if you have to eat your pet dog the next logical phase is to eat human, so lets fatten up some people for a barbeque.

  • Comment number 44.

    Here in Canada at least, a programme to neuter wild cats and dogs would probably be pretty effective, as would be a system of fines for people who drop puppies and kittens off at the nearest barn a month or two after Christmas.

    It does make me think that maybe Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal" (eating of children) had some merit after all; if pets have a high carbon footprint, children are even worse!

  • Comment number 45.

    I am a humanitarian and a vegetarian. I think that they are delicious! Too many people? Eat each other, problem solved!

  • Comment number 46.

    Re Post No. 5.
    The ozone problem was not a myth. There was a serious problem which was caused by CFC’s. However in 1987 politicians banned the used of CFC’s, and this has resulted in the global ozone levels stabilising, although the hole over Antarctica continues to grow, however the rate at which it is growing is falling and hopefully very soon it will begin to shrink. A similar thing happened with the London smog about 50 years ago or so. A human activity was causing a huge problem, the politicians acted by regulating the burning of dirty fuels, and the problem went away – was this another made up threat?

    Secondly your point about the amount of carbon dioxide released into environment from non-man made sources is flawed. Yes volcanos can release amounts significantly larger than man can but this is offset as over time the environment will remove this via plants and trees. However we are cutting down large parts of the rainforest which reduces the ability of the environment to remove it. As an example, if the environment releases on average 100 million tons per year (picking a number at random), and the environment removes 100 million tons per year then over time the amount of carbon dioxide will not change. Then along comes man and removes trees which used to remove 0.05 million tons, and also produces an extra 5 million tons. It doesn’t matter that the environment releases a lot more than man, what matters is that the balance has been broken, and now 105 million tons of carbon dioxide is being released but only 99.95 million tons is removed. This means that every year on average 5.05 million tons of carbon dioxide is added to the environment (except man continues to cut down trees so each year the amount accumulating in the environment will grow faster and faster.

    Even if you do not agree with the science behind global warming there is a limited supply of oil and it has an awful lot of uses in our society so by reducing our use of it where we can eg. By powering homes and industry via increasing amounts of green technologies this increases the amount of oil we have available to drive our cars, make plastics from, to make medicine out of etc. This will reduce the cost of oil, and therefore prevent everything becoming very expensive as almost everything contains something made from oil.
    Even if you believe carbon dioxide is not causing harm to the environment it is definitely not doing anything good up there. If you are wrong and we continue to release carbon dioxide into the environment then we have a catastrophe in the making. If you are right, but we stop using carbon dioxide then aside from the financial cost, then we gain nothing. I would rather be safe than sorry than not spend some money which will be partially mitigated by lower cost oil in any case.

    All that said, we do need to be careful as it is possible for “green” technologies to cause more harm than good. For instance the recent drive for biofuels has led to cutting down rainforest in Indonesia. As a result of this the peat soil has begun to release huge quantities of carbon dioxide. The land that the biocrops will be grown on will gradually become incapable of supporting crops, and overall the amount of carbon dioxide saved by not burning oil will not be outweighed by the initial release of carbon dioxide into the environment. Even if we grew biofuels in our country the lost food production could end up being made up for by cutting down rainforest in Indonesia, which again means we are back to the same point. This is not a reason to do nothing, just a reason to be cautious. We do end up with lots of waste from our food – eg vegetable peelings etc. which we could turn into biofuels. We just need to carefully examine our actions.

  • Comment number 47.

    Oh my god people I can't believe you're still at the climate change denier phase! Have you actually bothered to look at the evidence? All you have to do is look at how the additional CO2 WE have produced since the start of industrialization corresponds to the temperature changes. Easy!

    And why would it be in governments' interest to support this? I never quite grasped that argument especially in light of how for example Bush and friends tried to deny it for decades in any means possible. Big business does not need climate change and let's face it - the world is run by big business...

    As for the 'population bomb' argument, until a person's carbon footprint from Ethiopia is only a tiny fragment of someone's in the west, I find it rather unethical to complain about their population growth (not to mention that fertility rates have been declining on a global scale). Everyone have a look in their own yard first.

  • Comment number 48.

    Oh Justin, Justin, don't you know that any disrespectful reference to dogs and cats triggers frothing rage from hordes of humourless (where their pride and joy is concerned) owners just waiting to pounce. Remember a TV satirist stating he could say almost anything and get away with it, but should he make a passing comment on pets the Post Office would immediately need a dedicated van to deliver the torrent of 'green ink' abuse that followed.

    Anyway, the three cats in this household are very pleased to be doing their bit on a diet of newspapers, crushed glass and tin to recycle, though we have noticed a tendency to sick up any extracts from the Daily Mail that occasionally slip into the feeding bowls unnoticed.

  • Comment number 49.

    Our cats are fairly good at self-feeding, based on the number of part-eaten mouse carcasses we find outside. However, they have a huge carbon footprint, given that they've all flown across the Atlantic at least once each.

  • Comment number 50.

    I read the very first comment a couple of hours ago, now it's been suppressed. The reply was in no way rude off-topic or anything else, so why was it suppressed? If anything ought to be suppressed for bad taste, it should be the blog itself!

  • Comment number 51.

    Like all such assessments this appears to be a little simplistic; perhaps ‘bean’ counters who do not consider the wider picture.

    For example, I have a ‘working’ cat who keeps the rodent population at bay (in turn partly propagated by dog faeces – no anti-dog sentiment intended) thus negating the need for ‘chemical measures’.

    Equally there are working dogs from guide dogs, sheep-dogs through to security and the police. Have these factors been considered?

    Cats and dogs radiate heat which, like the banned light-bulbs will result in a marginal reduction in heating and I believe some of the pet food is a by-product. Further to this pets do bring enjoyment and thus add to our general well-being. Whilst I cannot start to assess this it must have a potential impact in the level of health provision required.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    #4 "People need to consider just having one child, or none at all, until we have a sustainable population."

    Yeah, because this will solve more problems than it will cause... or not. Trying to limit population (even voluntarily) can have a disastrous impact on a wide range of social and economic factors. We (the UK) already have an impending crisis in how we are going to care for our next elderly generation, yet alone creating further imbalance between the number of old people needing support and the number of young people to support them. Unless we are going to start treating old people in the manner that the authors of this book would like us to treat our pets (euthanise and then eat them), then population restrictions are not a viable answer. Just look at China, where you can have a single grandchild working to support three generations of his/her family.

    Besides, who decides what a "sustainable" population is? Is our pre-WW2 population of ~40 million low enough? Or is it merely a question of how many children our present 60+ million have? Population sustainability in the UK is calculated roughly at 2.19 children per woman. Which women get to make up the .19 extra between them and which must be restricted to 2?

  • Comment number 54.

    Obviously the hunt for an attention grabbing headline has filtered through in to the body text, a more intelligent article might have asked whether we could use our pets to reduce significantly the enormous waste food mountain we produce.
    When the dust settles in a few hundreds or thousands of years any observers still remaining will be able to see that actions taken by us made no discernible difference to the final result. The earth is going through one of its natural cycles and no matter how many pets we eat or how much we each reduce our energy/carbon footprint this change will continue to its conclusion.

  • Comment number 55.

    Eating my dog? Are you people nuts? How can you print something like this?
    I might as well become a cannibal.

  • Comment number 56.

    Right I've popped the pooch in the pot, I'm trying a slow cooked recipe both to tenderise and use very little energy in the cooking.

    The wife and kids are in for a real surprise tonight!

  • Comment number 57.

    ..and the next item to be 'accused' of global warming are those animals looked after by people but appear not to make a profit for those people. Is this the way the world is really going?

    When governments start ensuring drastic reductions in say, frivolous air travel (cheap holidays, domestic & short haul?) and impose a 50 mph national speed limit in order to conserve fuel then maybe I'll be interested in listening.

    Maybe we should all become vegetarians so we don't need animals on farms? Just how far does this 'accusation' have to go?

    In the meantime I'm going to sit with my cat and comtemplate how little energy we actually use.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm highly suspicious about the methodology used to calculate Pooch's CO2 footprint... in particular because of the way of calculating CO2 attributable to the meat products in the food. We all know that dog-food is made from meat that is otherwise deemed unfit for human consumption, therefore it seems logical that there would be no net decrease in the production of meat if we did away with all pet dogs (and cats for that matter too) since we'd just be throwing un(human)eatable meat away instead of feeding it to our pets.

    I would suggest therefore that the environmental impact of meat-eating pets is, in fact, neutral, certainly in terms of the meat that they eat, if not the cereals.

    From the figures given, I'd say we can probably reduce the average dog's impact by 2/3rds to more like 0.3gha, and that's before we start considering what cereal by-products not useable for humans are present in dog food.

    Does anyone have the cereal content for cat food? I reckon cat food is almost entirely 'waste meat' and therefore cats are pretty much impact free...

  • Comment number 59.

    Could we cook Mr Rowlatt instead, that could save the planet a little. Really why not go all the way and urge parents to eat their kids? Given the lifespan that would be expected of them it would make quite an impact by reducing any future consumption by the little dears!

  • Comment number 60.

    Hmm... eat the dog? I don't think so. Humanity cannot go around blaming others for OUR mistakes. Personally, I feel the pros of owning dogs (I have four)greatly outweigh these so-called cons ('Environmental Pawprint'? Give me a break) Asides from the companionship gained from our four-legged friends, the fact is that they keep me and my family very healthy via their exercise needs.

    Plus, being of a compassionate hippy-type mindset, why should we blame animals for the lifestyle that WE give to them? Dogs and cats don't eat tins of dog-food with mixer in the wild, do they? (Or was that a really interesting documentary I missed on National Geographic) If you want to reduce the carbon 'pawprint' of our pets, start feeding them proper food like what they would eat in the wild.

    Lets face it; if mankind's solutions to all problems was to eat them, we'd be in more trouble than we are now!

  • Comment number 61.

    Why stop at eating dogs? Every week there are lots of tasty and nutritious humans dying! I couldn’t find any recipes on line. However, banker fricassee or BBC reporter on toast sound mouth-watering. Presumably no living creature is worthy of being respected, and should be bred and nurtured so that we can “bump them off”, and eat them, so I don’t see why humans should be excluded.

  • Comment number 62.

    You actually get paid to write such nonsense? Eat our dogs? This article is a complete waste of space, how dare you suggest we eat our own pets? Then you have the nerve to put an actual recipe for dog stew!? You call yourself the ethical man, that doesn't give you the right to put such vulgar, obscene suggestions on a what is supposed to be a respected news agency. How can you can this idea of yours ethical anyways? If you're so worried and concerned about carbon emissions and global warming, why don't you put your time and ethical expertise into something that is actually possible and plausible? Not one person in the modern Western world would ever consider eating their own dog, that is practically the same thing as murder. What's next, eating our own children? I mean, as long as it's good for the environment...

  • Comment number 63.

    After looking through the comments here I cant believe so many people are so blind to the impact we are having on this planet. Only a fool would believe that over 6 billion people would not have an impact on this fragile globe. Since the dawn of man all we do is expand our domain and erode the land. How can people see the evidence of our destruction and not ask themselves what is causing it? In the last 50 years the process has been exponentially increased. We are using up all our fossil fuels, with the outbreak of war over it already seen - Iraq being the most recent. What will we do when our fuel runs out? We need to invest in more renewable energy sources. Clean, efficient and sustainable.

    We pour out noxious carbon gases and then wonder why the weather changes? The occurance of natural disasters is increasing - floods, tsunamis, tidal waves, tropical storms.

    I say again, only an ignorant fool who has his head in the sand could ignore the warnings.

    We have been warned. We had better start listening

  • Comment number 64.

    would it be better to insulate pets then they are keeping in their energy and being more eco friendly? Just imagine a world with pets in bubble wrap!

  • Comment number 65.

    My two (very healthy) dogs eat high quality vegan dog food that gives them all the nutrients they need, so their pawprints are not as high. I'd rather see people working to decrease the dog population of the future - getting dogs from shelters as opposed to breeders, supporting spaying/neutering programmes etc. - than heading off to the kitchen to store Fido in the freezer!

    Have you considered changing your dog's diet as part of your challenge?

  • Comment number 66.

    Now that I've calmed down, my dog, my cats and my pig, (yes, pig), contribute to my family's quality of life. They all contribute in their own way (too many to list here), they are better for me than Valium or psychoanalysis, with them what you see is what you get, unlike with people. The mere thought of popping any of them in the stew pot turns my stomach, and no I am not a vegetarian.

  • Comment number 67.

    "The occurance of natural disasters is increasing - floods, tsunamis, tidal waves, tropical storms."

    CO2 and human activity has nothing at all to do with tsunamis and tidal waves (one and the same thing, actually) unless we've suddenly learned how to influence tectonic processes through our industrial activity...

    There's a reason why these things are called *natural* disasters...

  • Comment number 68.

    and if we begin to eat the 4X4 and babies too?? well "they produce" too much carbon emissions, and yet, is it not better do not reproduce us at all? and we could keep going like that to the absurd...:-(
    It is really depressing that this sort of "articles" being even published. Thats the problem with blogs, there is a lot of not sense on them. It looks it is a way to distract the attention of the real problem: Consumerism and waste in the first world.
    Animals (so do babies) are not the cause, but the target of marketing and people being enough stupid to buy and buy and buy.
    Yes very worry to reduce carbon emissions but promotion of car sales and increasing of the Heatrow airport are encouraged, but facilitating ways for cyclists are impossible until now, even there is an increasing of bullying against cyclists, etc etc.
    Saying pets are the problem it is a little like saying that guns are guilty of murder without considering the criminals that used the gun...So what did you say about pets??

  • Comment number 69.

    It should be pointed out that our planet's continued population growth is largely due to an increasing ageing population (as medicine, education, economic and political stability, etc. allow people to live longer; most dramatically in developing countries), NOT only high birth rates in a decreasing number of undeveloped countries. Having 1 or less children in developed countries will likely have no effect on the problem but may reduce the inherent pleasure, or fulfilment, of raising children.
    Though this could provide some backing to attempts to curb 'excessive' numbers of children in benefit-scrounging schemes, but that's a whole different topic...

  • Comment number 70.

    I can't believe I sat and read all of these comments. I'm glad I did, however - some of you raise some very valid points that the author of this article and his sources seem to have missed.

    The points about meat-eating pets eating the meat byproducts that humans don't eat is an excellent point. If anything, this is helping the environment by reducing waste, which is something we're constantly being told to do. I couldn't agree more.

    It's also already been said that those of you getting upset about the idea of eating dogs or cats shouldn't be so ignorant or naive. People eat dogs and cats regularly in other countries. I'm pleased that some of you thought to point this out; my faith in humanity is restored ever so slightly.

    The point I'd like to make myself, though, is that humans have been keeping cats and dogs for thousands of years - hundreds of thousands of years in the case of dogs - and yet there's been no problem until now, when we've overpopulated the planet and become greedy and wasteful.

    The problem isn't so much that there are too many people - although this /is/ an issue, it's far from being the major one - but more that those people consume too much, far more than they need. I agree that population reduction is something that needs to be looked at, as dicey a subject as it is, but we should all be focusing more on whether or not we're using more than we really need to.

    That's not to say that everyone should become a vegan because we don't /need/ to eat meat, for example (actually you may find that the reason humans evolved to be the way we are at all was because we ate and still eat meat. The protein found therein fuelled the development of our superior brains and thus our intelligence, which we also needed to hunt effectively; one doesn't need to be intelligent to hunt plants). It would be more helpful of those of us who eat meat, like myself, were simply more careful to source our food responsibly and not buy or prepare more than we need.

    We just need to stop and think a little more about what we're doing before we do it. Before you go ahead and buy, say, that gas-guzzling 4x4, ask yourself, am I actually going to need this car to regularly go offroad, or am I just buying it to take little Vincenzo to his cello lessons?

    The problem isn't our pets. They've been around much longer than the excessive pollution that now threatens our environment. The problem is us, and the fact that we've all been too greedy for too long.

  • Comment number 71.

    It seemed to me that the author was being satirical. Hopefully, I'm not the only one that noticed just how utterly inaccurate a 'gha' measure would be (2.47 acres in Alabama are a heck of a lot more productive than 2.47 acres in Death Valley! How the heck to you figure a meaningful median for that?).

    Besides, if they're right and the climate is collapsing we Americans will just start eating Europeans...


  • Comment number 72.

    Great video, only problem was the units used. The meter was reading in kW, not kWh - kWh is a measure of energy and kW of power. It might seem like nitpicking but it's best to get things right!

    A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the amount of energy needed to run something that uses 1 kilowatt (kW) for one hour. If you're running a device that uses 2kW then it uses 1kWh in 30 minutes. The light bulb uses 0.1kW, so will uses 1kWh in 10 hours.

    An example of why it's important:

    Suppose you have two kettles, one of which uses 2kW and can boil a mug of water in a minute, and another that uses 1kW and boils a mug of water in 3 minutes. Although the first kettle uses more power, it uses less energy overall.

  • Comment number 73.

    I am really happy this book and article have been written because it might make people, who are usually happy to follow the anthropogenic climate change line without thinking too deeply about it, actually question it. Maybe they will take time to look at both sides of the argument and, like my family and millions of others, will actually see it for what it is... complete rubbish! Go on I dare you to really take a look at both sides because the media and especially the BBC has been very good at telling us it's our fault so at the very least look to see if it is or are you all so dumbed down by it that you can't think for yourselves at all? I would add a link or 2 to get you started but the BBC won't allow outside links.. surprise, surprise!

    As for the human overpopulation nonsense: yet another fallacy. According to UN figures fertility is falling and families are shrinking in places such as Brazil, Indonesia, and even parts of India... places that people think of as teeming with children. The European rate is alarmingly low. The fertility rate of half the world is now 2.1 or less, the magic number that is consistent with a stable population and is usually called the replacement rate of fertility. The prediction from the UN is that sometime between 2020 and 2050 the world’s fertility rate will fall below the global replacement rate. Africa is still producing more children but many of them sadly still die due to the conditions they live in. The reasons for this are varied but a large number of them die due to lung infections such as Pneumonia due to smoke inhalation from the dung fires in their huts.
    My point? Everyone knows that there is a link between development and population, the wealthier a country the lower its population. Now think how Africa could be if we allowed it (and I don't mean that flippantly) to develop? They could have electricity which would mean they wouldn't have to breathe the acrid dung smoke anymore; they would have fridges so they could keep their food safer and not suffer from food born diseases. What if we encouraged them to use GE/GM seeds so they can grow drought resistant food for themselves and their animals? I listen every day to people in more than comfortable surroundings benefiting from air conditioners when it’s hot and heating when it’s cold, fridges overflowing with goodies, pontificating about this damn Copenhagen treaty and how we must stop the third world from adding to climate change.. but what if it isn't true?? What if climate change isn't our fault and there is nothing we can do about it and anyway it's not going to end the world?? Just think what electricity could do for the poorer people of the world! Africa has huge reserves of coal and some of the billions being spent trying to prove anthropogenic climate change could change people’s lives for the better and yet we won’t allow it.. who the hell do we think we are?
    The rainforests are being torn down to grow bio fuels thus animals are being killed and de-homed in the name of climate change, people are being forced to pay much more for food the world over because less food is being grown as bio fuel crops are bringing in more money for the arable farmers.

    We need a proper debate about anthropogenic climate change and to be allowed to hear both sides of the argument; something that has been totally denied to us! If they are right in their views then they have nothing to fear so why haven’t we been allowed the debate?? One can’t help thinking greed has a lot to do with it as it has with most things that matter in this world!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    "67. At 1:42pm on 15 Nov 2009, cogitodexter wrote:

    "The occurance of natural disasters is increasing - floods, tsunamis, tidal waves, tropical storms."

    CO2 and human activity has nothing at all to do with tsunamis and tidal waves (one and the same thing, actually) unless we've suddenly learned how to influence tectonic processes through our industrial activity...

    There's a reason why these things are called *natural* disasters..."

    Fair enough, i will concede that this was not perhaps the best example for my point. But surely we can all see a link between human activiy and changes in our environment. The theory of global warming is not new, but is is more widely accepted by leading scientists these days. Surely it is better to be cautious now than being sorry later

  • Comment number 75.

    I have never heard such rubbish in all my life, pets and other animals have been around for years before all these environmental issues took off. The main thing that caused us to have these problems is due to our lack of reliance on animals for our energy needs, and preferring more to rely on a fossil fuel. Years ago horses used to cart people around, and they used far less pollution than our current love for cars, the only problem was they didn't move fast enough for our liking. Animals are an important part to keep ecology going, without pets we would be in an even deeper mess than we currently are. Cats used to be used in farms to kill things like vermin, now we use all these chemicals to kill vermin that are all causing far more pollution and releasing far more co2 into the atmosphere than a domestic cat. At least the cat allowed so many vermin to escape and by allowing them to escape allowed the circle of life to continue, and give other things the chance, but with modern pesticides not only does it kill the vermin, it also takes out other necessary parts of the ecology causing far bigger environmental problems than what we get from keeping one cat or one dog.

    I can't believe the BBC has wasted my TV licence money to put such awful dribble on their website. It certainly proves the BBC Trust has well and truly lost their way and is no longer bothered about their subscribers and just willing to put all sorts of dribble on their website, and make Britain look absolutely stupid.

  • Comment number 76.

    It gets back to too many people who have too many pets, SUV's, need for electricity from coal, meat, vacations, etc etc.

    Just kill off a few million or stop breeding for a while and maybe we can get this under control. Maybe that's what H1N1 was supposed to do?

  • Comment number 77.

    It has been scientifically proved that Global Warming is not the threat that it has been made out to be. I agree with the poster below; that the entire 'carbon' issue is a money making scheme & system of control. I do agree that there are grave environmental concerns facing us - but they are tied into the facts of consumerism, & the capitalistic monetary based systems. There are basically far too many people; consuming far too much. I do think that technology is part of a potential solution, but stress that the global warming carbon story is a myth.

  • Comment number 78.


    Dear LORDS. What an obnoxious wall of text.

    Something I forgot to add in my initial comment - those of you spouting about how climate change is probably a load of rubbish and that reducing our "carbon footprint" might not change anything, does that honestly mean we should all just pack it in and carry on with the rampant overconsumption that seems to be the trend today?

    The simple answer is no. Let's apply logic to this situation:

    Suppose we all do our bit not to use more than we need and reduce our impact on the environment, then discover that actually, climate change is happening without us and there was nothing we could do. Let's face it, in that case, it was going to happen anyway, but we haven't lost anything by having a little extra thought for our environment except for a few luxuries that we truthfully could have done without. We may even learn something in the process about being less selfish and become better as a society.

    On the other hand, let's assume the opposite is true. Let's assume that climate change /is/ something that we can change, but no one does anything about it. Suddenly the world is crashing down around our ears and humanity takes a nosedive into near-extinction. Well done, that was completely preventable. I hope you're proud of yourselves for being lazy, self-centred bloodsuckers.

    Put simply, there's no reason /not/ to think about the environment and try to reduce our impact on it. Whether climate change turns out to be "real" or not, the case for taking care of the planet is universally better than the selfish path of not doing anything because we might not need to.

  • Comment number 79.

    Justin, I would prefer that my dogs eat you. Thanks, very much.

  • Comment number 80.

    Who cooked these numbers? You can get anything you want from statistics if you use biased selection. And why compare a citizen of Cardiff to the "average" American? In Miami the cost of heating and food production are far lower than anywhere in the UK. Wouldn't it be more fair to compare the "average" UK citizen with long daily commutes to London (or wherever), high heating costs and high costs of food production to the "average" US Citizen?

  • Comment number 81.


    You do your credibility some harm by suggesting that 'one doesn't need to be intelligent to hunt plants'. I presume that your doctorate was not in plant toxicology. Are you aware of just how many poisonous plants there are in nature?

    Then again, perhaps a few well-placed tonnes of vegetable toxins could help with the over-population issue.

    The fact is that human beings are simply a mold that will eventually consume planet Earth in the way that mold consumes a piece of fruit. However, by that time we will have moved on the adjacent piece of fruit (probably Mars) where we will do exactly the same and so ad infinitum.

  • Comment number 82.

    Surely, the obvious conclusion is not for us to eat our pets, but for our pets to start eating us!

  • Comment number 83.

    #43, let's not be fattening people up for the barbecue... lean meat is so much better

  • Comment number 84.


    I probably could have worded that better, obviously. What I meant to suggest by that statement was that hunting animal prey requires the intelligence to outsmart that prey, or the social intelligence to hunt co-operatively as a group.

    You can be taught by your elders which plants are harmful and which are not, but hunting takes a great deal more skill than simply being told, "Don't eat that".

  • Comment number 85.

    Interesting that dogs are being used as a scapegoat for humans especially since they have no voice for rebuttal.

    The real answer is much easier. Humans could save the plant by going vegan. We would eliminate an enormous amount of unnecessary meat (humans don't need to eat meat) and all of the various negative impact that producing said meat takes. This would truly save the environment. End animal slaughtering. And improve humans' health.

    I urge you to try it for 30 days.

  • Comment number 86.

    Thanks for the recipes! Alas, I don't have a dog, but now I'm tempted to go out and get a fresh one, and do my bit for the environment.

  • Comment number 87.

    Honestly, the more I think about this, the more issues spring to mind. It's a pretty interesting subject.

    Those of you crying about how veganism is the only way to save the planet - did you know that the production of soya beans, which make up a great deal of your meat and dairy substitutes, is destroying the Amazon rainforest on a scale comparable to cattle farming and encouraging more deforestation as time goes on because it's seen as an "environmentally friendly" alternative?

    A better way to help the environment would be to put your car away for a month and see how you get along with just using public transport. That way, you'll reduce congestion on the roads reduce airborne pollution.

    More than that, though, you might just find that it's cheaper. Yes, rail and bus tickets can be expensive, but factor in that you won't be paying for fuel, maintenance of a vehicle, tax, insurance or parking.

    I've never driven anywhere and I get along just fine, but people always seem surprised. I can only imagine that this is because people seem to assume that you need a car to go anywhere that might take you more than ten minutes to walk. I am appalled at the laziness of people sometimes, but rarely more than on those occasions when I see my neighbors driving to the shops around the corner only a few minutes away.

  • Comment number 88.

    > 78 Lol that is so very typical of people like you.. we're ok as we live in the developed world, we have all the comforts we can afford but the developing world can't have it as it will harm the planet!
    No real answers to my post just derision.. if that's the best you can do then I feel very sorry for you sweetie!
    As my post pointed out the 'well there's no harm in it' is NOT true.. that's what's scary for me and I'm 100% certain I've done more research into this than you.. as they say nowadays, whatever!

  • Comment number 89.


    Uh. I didn't say anything about the developed world. Seems like you're seeing enemies where there aren't any. My advice, take a deep breath, go for a walk, try to feel a little less paranoid.

    The point I was actually making was that we in the developed world actually need to make more of an effort not to take our comforts for granted and that we should try not to use anything we don't need to. Are you sure you're quoting the right post? Is English your first language?

    The fact that you're arguing against the "there's no harm in trying to save the environment" statement suggests to me that you're actually one of those people pushing for consumerism. If we use less, we buy less, and that means lower profits - this really is the only reason why anyone would argue that doing our bit to help the environment by giving up a few luxuries is a bad idea.

  • Comment number 90.


    Or the developing world rather, sorry. Typo.

  • Comment number 91.

    This study has been thoroughly debunked as inaccurate here:

    A few excerpts:

    "by the authors' estimates it must take about 150 million acres of US farmland to feed our dogs. In all, there are 440 million acres of cropland in the US -- suggesting that the equivalent of one-third of all US cropland is devoted to producing dog food."

    "Total retail food sales in the US topped $1.1 trillion in the US in 2008 (see table 36 from the USDA's Agricultural Outlook statistics.) But according to the pet food industry, retail dog food sales totaled just $11 billion in 2008. By that measure, dog food represents about one percent of the total food economy."

  • Comment number 92.


    To say that meat eating directly lead to human beings reaching levels of intelligence they have is a bit imaginative I think. You could also argue that it needs a lot more brain to know what not to eat than run after another and then kill it and eat it. Not all meat eaters hunt in groups but many herbivores are also very social and intelligent e.g. elephants. Eating both meat and veggies certainly helped human being to survive though.

    ...Still I'm shocked by someone suggesting there has been no debating of climate science, hahaha! ...I would laugh if it wasn't utterly SAD that you state this.

    One of the reasons climate change is only just getting attention is because the general non-scientific media, in their attempt to report on climate change from 'both sides', has actually given far too much attention to the deniers, who have long been discredited in all respected scientific journals.

    And in actual fact it's normally the deniers you can't catch for a proper debate, just read the George Monbiot blog...

    The debate is over people and has been for some time. As Oxfam points it out people in (some) developing countries aren't
    wondering what climate change is going to bring. They already know... Ever heard of sea level rise in Bangladesh? Do a little search.

  • Comment number 93.

    I think it is very unethical for the BBC to have a link to a website encouraging the killing and eating of dogs - a website of a Korean restaurant that serves dog and cats in their menus.
    In Korea and China dogs and cats are kept in terrible conditions for meat and fur - they are then starved before being killed - by boiling them alive. Many of the animals are also stolen from the street and are pets of people who love and care for them.
    Maybe we should not judge other societies that have standards of animal care below most Western countries - I for one just hope they evolve to a point where killing dogs and cats for food and fur is off the menu.
    The BBC should not be encouraging animal cruelty in any way. This article is not about saving the planet from climate change or about living more ethically, it is simply about keeping someone in a job! Sacking him and the editior would make more sense to me.

  • Comment number 94.

    Wow! Shades of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal".

  • Comment number 95.

    PETS are part of our WONDER LIFE.
    Eating ? Killing ? out of Question. (No No No...).
    Let's Plant more trees .. Let's rebuild this earth by planting more and more and more trees.Let's start thinking solarpower , windpower, hydropower for energy ..No more digging for GAS...... No more Nucler Plant.

    GREEN means COOL,
    Means better thinking.

  • Comment number 96.

    For those of you who think rejecting over-consumption is rejecting consumerism, take a long look at all the "green" products and organic scams you have bought into. This is consumerism at its "best": a bunch of ignorant idiots convinced spending more money for less is doing them and future generations a favor.

    The green movement is worse than over-consumption. It's waste. It dreams up imaginary issues that you think need fixing... and then sells you a solution you never needed.

    And now we want to be concerned with our pet's carbon footprint? I know... let's wipe all life from the face of the earth, with the exception of plants. Then, we will really minimize our carbon footprint...

  • Comment number 97.

    "What will you do with your pet dog now you've been convinced that he or she is an enemy of the environment?"


    At some point you have to realize that you are the victim. The planet is not heading to catastrophe. When you consider eating your pet then you have clearly crossed the borderline between sensible approaches to help preserve and protect the environment (which we all cherish) and the eco-fascist Kool-Aid that everyone seems to be drinking lately.

    I feel deeply sorry for you and all those others who have been swept up in the latest "end-of-the-world" scam. I know you all mean well. I know you are all good citizens. It is sad that you are being misled by a self-interested minority (all the unfounded dire predictions means there is a lot research funding and government power being sloshed around and those are the "eco-fascists" that should be but never will be held accountable for this mess).

  • Comment number 98.

    This is about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. How on earth can any educated person believe this utter rubbish.

    Cat food contains 4% fish or meat. The rest is cereal.

    It is all over the internet that Global Warming is a massive scam perpetrated by the manipulators of Al Gore and his cronies to ultimately bring about various forms of carbon taxation part of the so called New World Order.

    Some people will be stupid enough to believe this. My God what has happened to the human race?

    I think perhaps the recent talk by Lord Monckton should be made compulsory viewing for everyone.

  • Comment number 99.

    Carbon footprint my butt. Who make up this bunch of hogwash? American scientists? This never an issue during the 50's,60's,70's when the U.S. had excessive amounts of basically they were the only ones burning it. Not saying that Europe was not, but the governments over there did not subsidize the cost of production to keep the prices low at the pumps(as much as the US did. Auto-manufacturers were building bigger and less efficient engines and bigger heavier vehicles. 15 miles per gallon was a high norm.-others going down to 8mpg. Auto manufacturers answer was the fact that they increased the fuel tank size(or even put in dual tanks) to hide the poor economy.
    CO2 is a by product of combustion. Not of the fuel sitting there unburnt in the fuel tank. So, if you went by conservative average fuel comsumption figures of the 60's ads in the US of say 15MPG(remember they always push horsepower not mpg and more horsepower means more fuel) and drove 16 hours a day/365 @ 60MPH fuel comsumption is 23,360 gallons of fuel per vehicle. With todays more economical vehicles at say an average of 40MPG that is 8760 gal.(1/3 of the fuel consumed). (I use cars for an example for it is the easiest thing to identify with).
    There is no mention of all the aircraft that bus people around. Those jets use thousands of gallons of high octane gasoline and spew it high in the atmosphere. Just to move sports players from one town across country to play elsewhere. Or maybe the plane is half full.
    Today we are talking about "CO2 output" and back then, not a peep.
    Something else is driving this "go green idea" and it is not global warming.
    The US wants to have a continuous supply of cheap gasoline for its cars. The car remains a measure of wealth. That "excess fuel" that used to be around in storage tanks which drove the prices downward, promoting car drivers to put it in their car tank instead,putting money into the economy. But that excess no longer exists. It is bought up by other nations(India and China). Oil companies are only devoted to one thing - the dollar - not it is bought up and is gone to the highest bidder.
    How can the US keep it?
    By telling the world that they are causing CO2 levels to rise....and somehow, this is increasing the temperature of the planet. If the other nations cut back on their carbon footprint this will help to reverse the heating the CO2 was supposedly creating. Drive less, use less.
    But, the US has yet to agree to any Kyoto agreement or any other accord that asks for a guaranteed pledge to reduce CO2 emissions.

    One only needs to look at the composition of the atmosphere to see that CO2 is down in the low single digits for percentage of the gases that make up air we breathe.

    This cutting back by the rest of the world, would also create a lessening demand in oil and other resources, which the US can then stockpile and keep its own prices under control...and remain the "headplayer".
    And it can find a way to make additional products that are as by their campaign slogan "earth friendly".
    No thanks. The old product I have from before which has been produced before CO2 was a concern....still works fine. I don't need to buy something new(which took more energy to make) and which will more than likely break sooner than my original unit.
    Maybe my old car is inefficient. But then, it was already built back in the 1970's, so that energy has been used. There is no retrieving it. I don't drive as much because of the cost of fuel so minimal driving means minimal CO2 output. I am doing my part.
    Recycle it? That is just another way of saying -throw away after use. It does nothing to quell the energy producers use to make the product, nor your use of the product.
    None have come out to say...buying it and using it is"not good" for the environment. Probably because they got product to sell?
    Besides, is not CO2 something that plants breathe in to convert to O2(something that mammals need in order to survive)? Sounds like a win win. We get more vegetables from the farms/greener lawns/more trees and we can breathe better too.

  • Comment number 100.

    This has got to be one of the dumbest blogs I've read. Maybe this type of stuff passes in North Korea where eating pets is common, or Leningrad 1941 when there's no other form of sustencance beyond canibalism, but if the author attempted to inform, he rambled off target. If it was an attempt to be humorous, it went over like a carbon-emitting turd in a punch bowl.


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