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March 22, 2009

"You Coudn't Make This Stuff Up"


from Geen Hell Blog

New planetary burden: Meat-eating pets


Paul Greenberg opines today in the New York Times that dogs and cats should go vegan. Writing about his cat, Greenberg says,

Coco, like most American cats, ate fish. And a great deal of them — more in a year than the average African human, according to Jason Clay at the World Wildlife Fund. And unlike the chicken or beef Coco also gobbled up, all those fish were wild animals, scooped out of the sea and flown thousands of carbon-belching miles to reach his little blue bowl.

The use of wild fish in animal feed is a serious problem for the world’s food systems. Around a third of all wild fish caught are “reduced” into fish meal and fish oil. And yet most of the outrage about this is focused not on land-based animals like Coco but on other fish — namely farm-raised fish.

But if you feel that a vegan pet would “go against nature,” Greenberg says you should “rethink a pet’s potential footprint before acquiring one”:



A carnivore, be it a cat, a dog or a salmon, is a heavy burden for the environment and should not be brought under human care lightly. In my family, this has become a topic of debate as we consider our next animal. Coco was an interesting and unique creature, and I argue that he cannot be replaced. To me, a vegetarian substitute is seeming more and more appealing. Lately, I’ve had my eye on a guinea pig.


Hats off to the New York Times for allowing Greenberg to share his thoughts with the world — otherwise, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

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