“I do think we should consider all the impacts that pets have so we can have an honest conversation about them,” Gregory Okin, a UCLA geography professor involved in the research, said in a press statement. “Pets have many benefits, but also a huge environmental impact.”
Okin claims that dogs and cats eat a lot of meat, which releases the equivalent of about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. He says that getting rid of dogs and cats would be the environmental equivalent of removing 13.6 million cars from the road. Dogs and cats are especially environmentally unfriendly compared to other vegetarian pets.
Okin claims pets are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the U.S., and if Americans’ 163 million dogs and cats were a separate country, it would rank fifth in global meat consumption behind only Russia, Brazil, the U.S. and China.
“I’m not a vegetarian, but eating meat does come at a cost,” Okin said. “Those of us in favor of eating or serving meat need to be able to have an informed conversation about our choices, and that includes the choices we make for our pets.”
Okin claims that if Americans stopped owning pets, the resources used to the “pink slime” used to feed dogs and cats food could be redirected to feeding humans.
“It’s perfectly edible and completely safe, but it’s unappetizing, so people don’t want it in their food,” Okin said. “But frankly, it’s a good, inexpensive protein source.”
Environmentalists are terrified of all the CO2 emissions generated by cooking meats, including those used for pet food.
“Studies are emerging that whether the meat is grown locally or far away, it still requires a lot of resources, including carbon resources,” Mike Tidwell, head of the environmental group Chesapeake Climate Action Network, told The Baltimore Sun. “If you really want to have a low-impact diet in terms of change, then you just have to eat a lot less.”
Tidwell claims raising beef generates the most CO2, but also says farm-raised fowl, like turkeys, are “still high-impact.”
Activists claim at the rate we’re munching through burgers alone, the world will need to use 42 percent of all land to meet future demand.
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller