Do you know the ecological footprint created by your pet? An Australian study, recently replicated by New Science magazine found that caring for a medium size dog for a year was twice as ecologically expensive as building an SUV and driving it for ten thousand kilometers.
With some six million dogs in Canada, not to mention the more than eight million cats and 10 million other house pets, the ecological impact of our pets is an issue of concern.
Pets are big in Canada. I grew up with pets most of my life with a number of dogs, and even a horse.
I’m pet free now, but more than half of Canadian households have at least one pet. There was more money spent last year on pet care in Canada than there was on childcare. And yet we give so little attention to the true cost of our pets on our planet and on our lives.
A recent San Francisco study found that more municipal waste came from pets as from dirty diapers. The Calgary Humane Society estimates that the average dog creates more than 2.2 kilos of waste per day.
And it all goes to the landfill.
As a society we’ve gotten the message of climate change when it comes to our cars. We’re buying the smaller compact rather than the big SUV more often. We’re recycling more and more. We are very cognizant of our own ecological impact on the world. Perhaps it’s time now to give consideration to the impact of our pets as well.
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister and a past president of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce.