Most of us love our pet, they are a valued member of our family and an indispensable part of life. When it comes to the environment, they do take quite a heavy toll however. In fact, when it comes to an eco footprint, they make for quite a large one.
The issue is not so much about one individual pet, but the millions of pets combined in all of our homes across the globe. Each one gives off it’s own fair share of CO2 and other gases, and when you add this all up, the numbers are quite surprising.
The global population of cats is estimated to be anywhere between 200 and 600 million, and dogs over 500 million. They give off methane, and they eat meat, (which is also a major contributor to our climate problems) and we consume things for them. The fact is that most of us have a pet to complete our family life, just as we have a home to live in, use electricity and drive our cars. So what can we do to reduce our impact? Is it time, in a world of ever decreasing resources, to remove the idea that we are all entitled to a pet? Is it time to stop pet selling, or take measures such as allowing only one per household, or per lifetime? The truth is that it’s hard to know. People will continue to yearn for the companionship of a pet, but the fact remains that there are just too many out there.
Our choice of pet makes a difference too. One way we could make a difference is to keep smaller animals, like goldfish or birds. When you consider that a regular German Shepard dog has the same ecological footprint as 1,059 goldfish, you see the difference right away.
For many, the thought of life without a pet is inconceivable, but we do need to think about this a little more. The days of having a dog, two cats and more may be coming to an end and pet ownership could one day change forever. Something to think about when walking the dog…