Scientists tally the environmental impact of feeding meat to our cats and dogs. It’s huge - LA Times:
"You’ve heard about the carbon footprint, but what about the carbon paw-print?
According to a new study, U.S. cats’ and dogs’ eating patterns have as big an effect as driving 13.6 million cars for a year.
The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, reveals how our furry, four-legged companions’ consumption of meat and other animal products adds a sizable, and largely overlooked, climate cost.
When it comes to environmental effects, meat-eating takes the cake.
...The same amount of beef, however, can be responsible for up to 1,000 kilograms of CO2 — a worrisome figure given that this greenhouse gas is largely responsible for the significant warming of the Earth’s climate.
That’s not even counting the livestock’s water usage footprint, which dwarfs that of agricultural crops. ...
Notably, dogs and cats actually consumed about 33% of the animal-derived calories that humans did, perhaps because their diets are generally more meat-heavy than ours, Orkin said.
On the other end, they also produce about 30% of the feces that humans do (and much of that gets thrown in the trash in plastic bags, instead of treated the way that human waste is).
In short, Orkin concluded, American dogs and cats eat enough animal product to account for about 64 million tons of methane and nitrous oxide, two other powerful greenhouse gases.
That’s about the same impact on our warming climate as driving 13.6 million cars for a year..."