Do dogs have bigger eco footprints than SUVs? According to some research done in New Zealand they do and they suggest that we should swap our cats and dogs for edible pets like chickens and pigs.
Two researchers from Victoria University found that, “The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year,” New Zealand’s Dominion Post reported. read the entire article here
Now I am all for a carbon neutral world, but before you get too hot under the collar let me assure you that I have no intention of getting rid of our golden retriever Bonnie. That would be a little like suggesting we get rid of the sacred cows in India. She is not a commodity to be disposed of when used, she is part of our family. She comforts us when we are upset and makes us laugh when she is happy. She forces us to get out and walk regularly too.
As the article points out there are far more benefits to having a dog than can be taken into account by just assessing their carbon footprint. The health benefits of pets have been well documented and their value as service animals for the blind and disabled is incredible. They are also still invaluable in searching for lost people and a hound’s nose can sniff out drugs as well as a multi million dollar machine.
And even if there was no research to justify our keeping of pets I cannot imagine a world without them. They are some of God’s most endearing creatures. In fact I have learned some of my most valuable lessons about God and faith from my dog. Her unconditional love is remarkable.
And she models a way of life that I suspect is closer to kingdom living than mine often is. She know what is most important in life – food, fun and fellowship. She is our hospitality girl, always getting excited when she sees the signs that indicate someone is coming to dinner. She is not concerned about accumulating vast amounts of stuff (though she does enjoy her toys) and she never seems to worry where her next meal is coming from – she knows the food will always be there.
Maybe like Tara Lohan who wrote the Alternet article, I am just rationalizing my keeping of a pet, but I do think too that reducing our carbon footprint is not about austerity living and it is not about taking the joy out of life. Nor is it about developing a utilitarian view of life in which only those creatures that can be used for food are worth keeping. After all part of our concern is that all of God’s creatures will have a place to live in this world without their habitats being destroyed.
So what do you think?