Dogs And Cats Are Ruining The Environment, New UCLA Study Says

A new study by UCLA says dogs and cats play a significant role in contributing to global warming.

Anyone who wants to protect the planet, and also owns cats or dogs, has bad news from environmental scientists.

According to UCLA prof. Gregory Okin, dog and cat ownership contributes to global warming and destroys environmental resources.

From Hollywood Patch:

Pet ownership in the United States creates about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, UCLA researchers found. That’s the equivalent of driving 13.6 million cars for a year. The problem lies with the meat-filled diets of kitties and pooches, according to the study by UCLA geography professor Gregory Okin.

Dogs and cats are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the impacts of meat production in the United States, said Orkin. Compared to a plant-based diet, meat production “requires more energy, land and water and has greater environmental consequences in terms of erosion, pesticides and waste,” the study found.

And what goes in, must come out. In terms of waste, Okin noted, feeding pets also leads to about 5.1 million tons of feces every year, roughly equivalent to the total trash production of Massachusetts.

According to Prof. Okin, dog and cat feces negatively impact the environment. Never mind that old environmentalist argument about humans decimating wildlife populations (wildlife also poops), modern environmentalists have the sort of tunnel vision it takes to know the problem with feces when they see it.

If meat production for pets is destroying the environment, then perhaps people who want to go green need to advocate for more homes without pets, starting with their own, so they can lead by example.

Somehow, I doubt that will happen.

Hollywood Patch continues:

“Given the significant environmental impact of meat production, the contributions of our omnivorous and carnivorous pets deserve special attention,” according to Okin’s study, published in the journal PLOS ONE. “The U.S. has the largest population of pet dogs and cats globally, with an estimated 77.8 million dogs and 85.6 million cats in 2015.”

“This analysis does not mean to imply that dog and cat ownership should be curtailed for environmental reasons, but neither should we view it as an unalloyed good,” Okin wrote in the study. “It is clear that a transition to pets that eat less meat, and therefore have less environmental impact, would reduce the overall U.S. consumption of meat.”

If dogs and cats hurt the planet through meat production and “greenhouse gas emission and feces production,” as Okin suggests, then ownership is a problem to be dealt with, right?

There are, after all, alternatives to cats and dogs, just as there are alternatives to coal.

As environmentalists propose transitioning reliance on coal to “greener” options like solar and wind power, why not transition to fish and birds over dogs and cats?

Okin wrote “without large-scale reduction in their number and changes to the food system that drastically reduces the per-capita animal product consumption, the environmental and energetic impact of these animals will remain significant.”

Because Okin says dog and cat ownership shouldn’t be “curtailed for environmental reasons,” but also suggests a “transition to pets that eat less meat” would help, the point of his study is a bit unclear, besides making people aware that no matter what they do, alarmists will find out how they’re hurting the planet.

Brian Thomas

About Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas lives in Cleveland, where he is part of a program helping elderly and disabled veterans. He has worked in education, journalism, and public relations since his college years at Ashland University