With concerns about the condition of our planet growing and U.S. pet ownership at an all-time high, geography professor Gregory Okin of the University of California Los Angeles wondered how much of an environmental impact our pets have on the planet, particularly regarding their food consumption and waste production.
Okin ran the numbers and published them in August in a paper in the journal PLOS One. Because pet food contains a lot of meat, dogs and cats account for 25 to 30 percent of the total environmental impact caused by meat consumption in the U.S. Additionally, dogs and cats produce 5.1 million tons of feces every year. That’s a lot of poop. Does this all mean we should not have pets? Of course not. But it’s some food for thought.
Jackie Brown is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in the pet industry. Reach her at jackiebrownwriter.wordpress.com.
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