A CNN climate piece arguing that pets and their “meat-heavy diet” are major contributors to climate change was shared online this week.
The piece offered ways that owners can reduce their beloved animals’ “carbon pawprint.”
It suggested pet owners re-assess their pet’s diet, offering “lab-grown meat” and “insect-based pet foods” as a potential option for them. The article also recommended making sure that pet products, such as leashes, bags, toys and bowls are recyclable, and also advised that potential owners maybe adopt smaller breeds to minimize climate impact.
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Though the piece was written last month, the outlet shared the piece on Twitter Friday, causing a stir among users.
The piece opened with the statement, “Our four-legged friends don’t drive gas-guzzling SUVs or use energy-sucking appliances, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a climate impact. In fact, researchers have showed that pets play a significant role in the climate crisis.”
CNN pointed to the “products we buy for them” that contribute to the climate crisis, specifically their food. The article stated, “Their meat-heavy diet is the biggest contributor to their carbon pawprints, which requires an abundance of energy, land and water to produce. And the production of pet food emits huge amounts of planet-warming gases.”
Citing a 2017 study, the outlet noted, “feeding dogs and cats creates the equivalent of around 64 million tons of carbon dioxide in the US each year. That’s roughly the same impact as 13.6 million cars on the road.”
It added that “if our furry friends formed a separate country, it would rank 5th in global meat consumption behind China, the US, Brazil and Russia, according to UCLA professor and author of that study Gregory Okin.”
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Though “Bidding farewell to your best friends is not the answer,” CNN said. Owners just need to “minimize” their pets’ “environmental impact.”
One recommendation was to alter pets’ diets. The piece described “some new food developments on the market that are worth looking into, especially for dogs, including lab-grown meat.”
In addition to that, there are “insect-based pet foods” which are “nutritionally complete and are starting to come onto the market around the world.”
Another recommendation offered was making sure necessary items, including, “toys, bowls, litter, poop bags and leashes,” can be recycled and are as environmentally friendly as possible. It also advised not buying wasteful accessories for pets, like costumes.
Lastly, the article recommended potential owners to adopt smaller pets for a smaller carbon footprint. “The general rule is that larger pets will have a larger climate impact than smaller ones, primarily because they need more food. So you might consider smaller breeds or species if you’re aiming to minimize your impact on the planet.”