Sunday, 25 October 2009

Time to eat the dog?

Well can you believe it?

There's an article in this week's New Scientist (my favourite magazine, as you know) which asks the question "How Green is Your Pet?". It says, basically, that having a dog is worse for the environment than owning an SUV!

Some supposedly very clever scientist has worked out, apparently, that the average dog has an annual carbon footprint almost twice that of a Toyota Land Cruiser. Mostly because of all the meat we eat. 

Well, fellow dogs, leaving aside the dubiousness of the concept of an 'average' dog, this seems to me mighty bad news. Especially for those of us who live in households where the humans are environmentally conscious and into sustainable living. I mean, heaven forbid that we are all going to be forced onto a vegan diet! 

Time for a reasoned response - let's not panic just yet. 

It it clear to me that these so-called researchers have failed to recognize that a dog can also reduce a household's carbon emissions. Consider the following points:
  • As (at least in Europe) it is hard to get on an aeroplane with a dog, we force our owners to reduce the amount they fly, and we all know that flying produces loads of CO2.
  • When I am in the car, Gail has to drive more slowly (i.e. in a more fuel efficient fashion) as I stand up and start to look sick if she corners too fast on our twisty Scottish roads.
  • When your human has cold hands, they can warm them up by stroking their pet - so much more satisfactory all round than turning up the heating.
  • Likewise, many of us perform bed-warming duties too, do we not?.
I am sure that my blogging buddies can think of many more ways in which we dogs are environmentally friendly, and I invite you to leave your suggestions in my comments box. These will I hope form the basis of a strongly worded letter to the New Scientist's editor!

(And in case you're wondering, a cat is equivalent to a VW Golf and a goldfish equates to two cellphones.....)


Two French Bulldogs said...

What next! We are running for the hills!
Benny & Lily

Martha said...

We would put the argument that research has shown that owning a dog or indeed a cat is good for humans!
Here is a little snippet of some recent research:

Research has shown that when dog or cat owners were asked to perform a stressful arithmetic task, they showed less stress in the company of their pets than in the company of a friend. Other studies have found that owning a pet relieves depression, reduces blood pressure and triglycerides, and improves exercise habits, all of which can lower the risk of heart attacks. Studies even suggest that having a pet might improve survival after a heart attack.

So arguably we are saving the NHS a fortune!!!!

Martha & Bailey xxx

Scooter said...

I came up with a way we are helpful. We wash the inside of the car windows with our noses and breathing.. hence saving the use of paper towels!! That helps the enviorment too!! lol

Window licks

Sally Ann and Andy said...

Those researchers need to visit a humane society puppy area. Then look at there research.
Sally Ann

Unknown said...

psNow, don't forget, us male dogs provide helpful nitrogen to the plants we pee on! And plants are good! (Sorry gals, your pee is too concentrated so it does more harm than good. Because we spread our pee-mails around, our urine is less concentrated and good for plants that haven't been fertilized.)

I do fly quite a bit (six flights already this year and at $100 a flight!) but hopefully some of the ridiculous expense of my ticket (face it, I'm a carry-on bag!) goes towards off-setting my carbon paw print.

Your pal,


ScrapsofMe said...

Where is all this MEAT we eat? Hmmm....I'm not getting any so who's hogging it all? The Mr. can put away a pound of bacon or a humongous steak, and I don't get a crumb of it. Neither does Puffy. That sensitve tummy stuff we get tastes like cardboard. I WANT MY SHARE OF THE MEAT!!!

Maxmom said...

Hey there Hamish!
What a wonderful post!...and most thoughtful we say.
Well, I think some of these mad scientists have too much time and too little sponsorship! (I think the pet food companies might well be able to add to your suggestions), but here is mine...
MAYBE WE SHOULD GET RID OF ALL THE HUMANS!(except our mom's of course), because I bet their carbon footprints are extreme. If we did that, it would make space for all the dogs!....mmmmm....
(Okay, that was a real bad idea - soon I am going to be accused of Natzi-ism, and that is not my intention! I was thinking about the humans culling all our poor elephants!)
Thanks for making us doggies think.

Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

Just think of all the methane we add to the environment...oh, no.....forget that may smell like it should be green, but it's not, is it!! BOL!!

Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Java

Life With Dogs said...

This was an interesting article - I caught a bit of flack when I posted it on our fan page last week, but it is worth a read.

I'd lose the SUV first. :)

Stella said...

Here is another thing: Most humans shower or bathe DAILY! That is a whole lot of water to use.

Dogs never want to bathe of their own volition, think water is for drinking, and a lake or stream a good place to take a swim.

We are much greener than they!



Eric said...

Hamish. I saw the article at the weekend. Shoved it in the paper recyle paper bin. Knocked back a bottle of wine cos I was so mad at the article. Chucked the bottle in the bottle bin for recycling. Threw the raincoat that Mom hade made for me that I refuse to wear into the recycle clothing bin up the road. Which I wigged my wag to. Think thats doing my bit for ecology don't you?

Wiry wags n kisses Eric xx

Asta said...

What a load of baloney.
Those skientistses awe cwazy
We help the enviwonment in a jillion ways.
I keep my pawents wawm at night..we nevew evew have the heating on in the bedwoom..I love vegebles and I think the amount of meat I eat is cewtainly about getting wid of SUVs all togethew and maybe those hoomans waddling out of them can wedooce theiw meet intake.Sheesh.
We don't even have a caw..

I'm so mand I could splode(plus Mommi needs me to keep hew heawt ticking)
I'm hewe to stay and I hope all the west of my fwiends awe too
smoochie kisses

Hamish the Westie dot ca said...

That's news, Hamish. I hadn't thought of that before. I feel bad. Very vexed. I've been thinking:
1) it's not very ethical to compare creatures to trucks. We dogs aren't just another consumer product! Besides that what SUV owner only drives 10 000 km a year? It seems like a rigged test to get a headline, to me. Now it's true from what I hear that Canada is bigger than NZ so maybe we drive more, but still.
2) Living with an animal like me must teach people about how we animals are different from the people. Ecological thinking includes caring for the creatures, I think (especially with treats).
3) Dogs can contribute to a greener life not just by keeping the humans warm at night--something I love doing, too--but also by helping out with the dishes so as to save water. Why just the other day I was hovering by the dishwasher trying to help out. I also definitely make the people take more walks. My whining and whimpering always gets me taken along on the errands besides the usual walks. I make walking more fun, too, what with all my sniffing and stopping. Also, people with dogs want more green spaces for the dogs; trucks just want more roads.
4) And wouldn't it be the case that we Westies would be more ecological than the big dogs, just because we eat less? Yeah for the Westies (but big dogs are good, too).
Just some thoughts. I here on in promise not to chew up my toys so they won't end up in the landfill.

Arran, Arthur and Mum said...

Scientists lie! This has just proved it!
Although most doggies don't eat a lot of meat really. If you go in the shop and look on a packet of dog food most of them only has about 4% meat in them. So if that be true raw fed doggies like me must make as mch carbon as an air plane!!
~lickies, Ludo

TwoSpecialWires said...

You know what? We had this post made to be really really little at the bottom of our pooter screen, with lots of big intentions of coming back and writing (and defending) lots more reasons that dogs are environmentally friendly, and moreso, a BENEFIT to the world's environment, but we kinda sorta forgot it was down there and then we went out and played in the deep deep snow today and our paws got frozen along with our brains and now we can't think very well and all we want to do is sleep so we can't think of what to say! It's just true. We are a great benefit to the earth and all the people in it. Period. End of sentence. (Mighta ought put some periods in that first sentence but we didn't.)

Jake and Fergi xxoo

The Black and Tans. said...

Our jaws hit the floor while we read about the scientists report. What PIFFLE!

Goldfish equates to two cellphones! You can only laugh, you would cry otherwise.

As for having an annual carbon footprint twice that of a Toyota Land Cruiser did these scientists check out all the school-run-mums who drive less than 1/4 mile every morning and evening in their 4 x4's instead of walking the children to school? Then drive them to McDonalds to eat MEAT!!!

Hmph. Hamish you certainly have unearthed a topic which sparks great debate.

Molly, Taffy and Monty