Monday, 26 October 2009


A book from New Zealand by Robert and Brenda Vale 'Time to Eat The Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living' ( raises a number of issues. The authors claim that the 'average' Collie consumes 164 kg of meat and 95 kg of cereals per annum and that this results in their having twice the 'carbon footprint' (or pawprint?) of a 4.6L 4x4 Land Cruiser travelling 6000 miles per year. A cat is said to be equivalent to a VW Golf. It is not, of course, easy to do such calculations. I suspect that the carbon footprint associated with creating and disposing of the car is much greater than that involved with your average dog (and this does not appear to feature in their comparison). Pets also have a beneficial effect on the health of their owners (cars don't unless you are very close to them). A serious point, however, is that the kind of pet you keep can have a powerful impact on your impact on the planet. Low maintenance pets would include a goldfish or a snail.

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