« Will the downturn cause you to tip less this holiday season? | Main | Would you still fly if you had the swine flu? »

November 24, 2021

Eat a dog and save the planet

Dogs cause more damage to our planet than SUVs, according to a controversial new book, Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living.

The environmental footprint of your average hound may be as much as twice that of a typical sport utility vehicle, maintain New Zealand researchers Robert and Brenda Vale.

The enterprising Vales maintain that it takes 1.1 hectares of land per year to create enough chicken, beef, and lamb for a medium-sized dog to eat, in contrast to the gas-guzzling Toyota Land Cruiser SUV which requires less than half that – just 0.41 hectares, assuming a modest 10,000 kilometres a year of driving. 

Needless to say, not everyone agrees with the math, let alone the concept.

“We're not actually saying it is time to eat the dog," a cheeky Robert Vale tells Reuters. “We're just saying that we need to think about and know the ecological impact of some of the things we do and that we take for granted.”

The Vales aren't necessarily anti-pet but the couple, who don’t have a cat or dog, would rather have us trade in ours for smaller, greener pets like fish or hamsters – a concept that Judy Gruen, author of The Women's Daily Irony Supplement, labels as a really bad idea.

The authors' other suggestion – that we should recycle our pets by eating them or turning them into pet food at the end of their lives – is going to take a bit of getting used to.

Nonetheless, for the ecologically-minded it's time to admit that dog may be a realistic food for realistic environmentalists, maintains Jonathan Foer in his new book, Eating Animals.  

Of course, he's a vegetarian.

Where do you stand on the 'pets as environmental scourge' debate? 

By Gordon Powers/ MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...