UCLA researcher finds that feeding pets creates the equivalent of 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year!
Raising livestock for meat takes up land, water, and energy, which pumps lots of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the environment. And America's Dogs and cats are responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture, according a study, which adds up to a whopping 64 million tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent emitted in the production of their food. That’s due to all the meat our furry friends gobble down, according to the research.
With many Americans choosing to eat less meat in recent years, often to help reduce the environmental effect of meat production, UCLA geography professor Gregory Okin began to wonder how much feeding pets contributes to issues like climate change.
All that meat has important consequences. Okin calculated that meat-eating by dogs and cats creates the equivalent of about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, which has about the same climate impact as a year’s worth of driving from 13.6 million cars.
The good news - your dog can thrive on a meat free diet!
It's often thought that dogs are exclusive meat-eaters. This belief stems partly from the fact that dogs are related to wolves, and from the fact that dogs belong to the scientific order Carnivora, which includes wolves and other meat-eating species. Despite its name, this order also includes herbivores and omnivores, such as giant pandas and raccoons, according to Tufts University's Cummings Veterinary Medical Center.
The truth is that dogs have evolved a number of differences from wolves over the millennia. One of those differences, according to a study published in Nature, is that the genomes of dogs have evolved to not only enable them to digest plant-based starches, but to thrive on foods that include a wide variety of ingredients including fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, meats, poultry, fish and more, making them true omnivores.
Pet food company Wild Earth for example developed a vegan dog food that uses sustainable yeast protein for their product.
Consider switching your dog to a vegan diet and feel good about not contributing to factory farming’s high carbon emissions and mistreatment of animals.