Friday 26 May 2023

Global warming news - having three dogs is as bad for the environment as taking a private jet

Everybody should be as aware as possible about their contribution to global warming because it will affect both us and more importantly our children and generations to come. Companion dogs and cats (as do other pets) contribute to global warming. They don't directly contribute to it. They might in a very small way such as flatulence (carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane)! But this is a reference to the food and products we give them.

Global warming news - having three dogs is as bad for the environment as taking a private jet
Global warming news - having three dogs is as bad for the environment as taking a private jet. Image: MikeB

Farming beef is bad for the environment. Pet food contains meats from livestock albeit wasted livestock that would not be used to feed humans. And as wet cat food contains more protein i.e. more meat than dry cat food it is said to have seven times the carbon emissions of dry food.

We know that private jets contribute to global warming. There is a backlash against their use by people who are concerned about climate change. There are protests at airports for example.

New Scientist:

"An assessment of almost 940 kinds of Brazilian cat and dog food has found that producing wet food creates 690 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than making dry food"

Patrick Hansen

Patrick Hansen, the boss of Luxaviation has claimed that animals are as polluting as private jets. He is defending his industry. He was speaking at a Financial Times summit.

He claimed that one of his customers' jets emits just 2.1 tons of carbon dioxide a year which is about the same as the emissions of three pet dogs.

As mentioned, he is referring to the carbon footprint of pet food. He took his information, I believe, from consultant and writer Mike Berners-Lee who said that a Labrador has an annual carbon footprint of around 770 kg.

The major carbon footprint factor of keeping a dog or cat comes from their food but there are other aspects which contribute such as buying plastic toys and of course cat litter damages the environment.

Vegan pet food

Some climate change campaigners advocate that pet owners use vegan foods for their cats and dogs. This is a controversial area. For example, your average cat owner insists that their cat eats meat because they are obligate carnivores and therefore, they cannot be vegan.

However, there is a commercial vegan cat food manufacturer on the market right now doing quite well. They make it work by adding supplements to their food which ensures that it is balanced. Plants contain proteins therefore cats and dogs can obtain their protein requirement through plant-based foods to which you can add the required other nutrients to make the food balanced in terms of a domestic cat's nutritional requirements.

People who are anti-vegan cat food are not, in my opinion, thinking through the issue properly. Although, I don't feed my cat vegan cat food because I believe my cat needs wet cat food primarily with some dry. I also don't like the standard dry cat food because the pellets are too small. I always buy dental care dry cat food which is made up of much larger pellets.

Increase in dry foods?

The situation is a little bit worrying because dry cat food is popular as it's convenient. The general consensus is that it is not as good as wet cat food everything else being equal. It contains too many carbohydrates in order to make it. It's too unnatural. it is argued that it leaves cats permanently dehydrated. But global warming may drive people to purchasing it and the vegan pet food market is predicted to rise nearly 7% over the next decade according to consultancy Future Market Insights.

FYI - Joaquin Phoenix feeds his dogs a vegan diet because he is a staunch animal welfare advocate for which I admire him.

Wet food is worse for global warming than dry cat food?

The production and distribution of pet food, like any other food, can have an environmental impact. Factors such as ingredient sourcing, processing methods, packaging, and transportation contribute to the overall carbon emissions associated with pet food production.

Wet pet food generally contains a higher water content compared to dry food, which means it requires more resources for production and transportation. The manufacturing process of wet food involves additional energy for cooking, canning, and packaging. On the other hand, dry pet food generally has a longer shelf life and requires less packaging.

While it's difficult to determine an exact figure of how much more carbon emissions wet pet food has compared to dry food, it is plausible that wet food could have a higher carbon footprint due to the factors mentioned above. However, it's worth noting that individual brands and manufacturing processes can vary significantly, so it's essential to consider specific products and their environmental claims when making comparisons.

If you're concerned about the environmental impact of your pet's food, you can look for pet food brands that prioritize sustainability. Some companies strive to use responsibly sourced ingredients, implement eco-friendly packaging, or invest in renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, considering alternative diets, such as homemade or raw diets, may also be an option for reducing the environmental impact, although it's essential to consult with a veterinarian to ensure your pet's nutritional needs are met.

For up-to-date and detailed information on the specific carbon emissions of different pet food types, I would recommend referring to scientific studies, industry reports, or consulting with experts in the field of pet food production and sustainability. - Source: Chat GPT.

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