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Would you consider NOT replacing your pet to save the planet?

According to Donnachadh McCarthy, an environmental auditor, by owning a pet, you are doing more damage to the environment than you might realise.

He says “When pets can emit twice the carbon emissions of our homes’ electricity and kill up to 200 million wild prey in the UK every year, we cannot stay silent. Unfortunately, in many cases pet ownership is simply another form of destructive consumerism.”

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) conducts an annual survey of UK pet ownership. In 2019, they found that 50 per cent of adults own a pet, with 10.9 million people owning a cat, up from six million in 1981. These figures increased during the lockdown. The Kennel Club reported a 25 per cent rise in pet registrations, with people buying pets on impulse for company during lockdown.

The Mammal Society estimated in 1998 that 63 million small mammals, frogs and snakes and 27 million birds were killed every year by UK cats. Of real concern is the vulnerability of endangered bird species in habitats close to urban cats.

But it’s not just wildlife. 20.8 million dogs and cats consuming just one tin or unrecyclable plastic package of cat food per day results in 7.6 billion containers being manufactured each year, just in the UK. Add to this, another 3.6 billion plastic bags for picking up the estimated 1.2 million tons of dog-poop and then there is the issue of disposing of 200 million tons of cat waste.

Most clumping cat-litter is made from bentonite clay, which is an unrecyclable mineral mined using open-cast strip mining, which removes trees and soils to get at the clay.

Then there is the actual high-carbon, high-cruelty fish, chicken and meat that goes into the tins and packets that eventually produces the poop. The meat content of dog and cat diets, at about 33 per cent, is significantly higher than that of the average American human diet, at about 19 per cent.

It would seem that the UK cannot achieve its carbon goals or protect our remaining scraps of biodiversity if we maintain this unsustainable huge number of pets.

What are your views? Are you a pet owner? Would you consider NOT replacing your pet when it goes to pet heaven? 

Would you consider NOT replacing your pet to save the planet?

1083 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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MissThyme
2 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
I am aware of the problems regarding cats and dogs. However my pets are the small indoor furries. Their litter goes into the compost bin and their food is hay and vegetables. Having them in my life helps to keep me sane!
jason49mac
4 days ago
2
Thanks for voting!
Well when they ban people "from driving cars, smoking, eating meat" maybe then would their be proof against pets.

Also until India, China and other Asian countries reduce their, what is the point of the UK. We are already one of the lowest emitters.

Pets are also a lifelong friend, a lifeline, to lonely or ill people.

I suppose they will say "NO more working dogs" as too many people now rely on them.

Wake me in 10 years when I will no longer be woke 🙂
MandyR6
5 days ago
1
Thanks for voting!
Never, would be lost without our Adorable pair, makes me quite sad to think owning a pet could become extinct 🙁
Jocelyne
5 days ago
1
Thanks for voting!
We would be lost without our 2 lovely dogs. What would happen to all the dogs/cats who need rehoming.
viking
1st May 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Perhaps our editor has fallen for an April jape !!
Has anyone checked the credentials of this person ??
Baillieston
1st May 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
A pet maybe the only source of company a person has.
A dog for example gets you out and about and can be very sociable meeting other dog owners.
So whilst the dogs play the owners walk and talk.
So it's good exercise for the owner and good for mental health as you get to speak to other people
Irene88
30th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Quite sure that all gthe vdry many plants and trees in my garden more than make up for me having a dog. she also loves the garden. she's a rescue dog why would I get rid of her?
Lionel
30th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Why this incessant drive for change? Everything must change, I'm told, but as yet I've not understood a good reason for it.

If we cast our minds back fifty years, or even ten years, there's been so much change and yet the country seems in a worse state than when people were left to their own devices and opinions.

Rapid and unremitting change unsettles folk; we become less secure, more volatile and resentful. Is that one reason why there's so much violence in the country? Maybe.

Now this self opinionated person wants us to do without household animals. Just one more deprivation removing the underpinning of our lives - things that make life bearable, or even enjoyable.

I've had Collies all my adult life. From a family of them, working them with sheep and cattle, right down to a single youngster who will be our company into old age and that when the family don't want us, just the little house we own.

No chance! The house is going to a Border Collie rescue centre, after full provision for our present dog has been taken care of!

If my dog dies before us we will have another, make no mistake.
LindaM792
30th Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Why is all packaging not recycled? Why are non recyclable packaging still made . ?!I think a lot of peoples mental health would suffer with no pets around. More people would be lonely. Vermin would be a larger issue . Biodegradable materials should used more . Ban cat litter that is harmful to the planet. Have humane ways of fishing and farming. There’s lots of solutions much better than banning pets .
viking
29th Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Cats and Dogs round here are used to keep vermin down.
Cats and Dogs are kept as pets and show that stroking and petting these animals increases mental well being.

Larry the mouser @ 10 Downing Street is very selective about which rats to catch in that building.
olivep
28th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
Never heard anything so ridiculous - the world is going mad !!
JeanetteS25
28th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
So first dogs then it will be us replaced with robots, do you ever wonder why these robots are now so human looking, maybe we should dispose of these idiots who come up with these ideas. This world is changing I'm in my 60's half of the planet issue is down to governments and their stupid ideas they think we should go ahead with. All these nutters want locking up in my opinion.NO plastic bags in my day no plastic milk bottles go back to old ways they were the best times, milk in bottles washed and re used, brown paper bags for shopping or a string bag, every city is changing new buildings but whats up with the old ones, to much change not good
JeanetteS25
28th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
Then best stop flying planes that will help save the planet, also new electric cars! where will you put the batteries when they die and be rid of those????? You have all of us recycle WHY? most goes to land fill. no i would not give up having pets they are my company my friends and my family. Who comes up with these stupid ideas?
Dogs and cats have been uk pets for years back then fed on scraps from the table. You all like the tax put on things but now want to remove animals, It is way to late to save the planet you should have thought of that back in the 70's no good now. I for one will always have a pet like many others
LindaT5
27th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
My pets are family and I love having them around. There are more polluting things around than a pet. No one can say you cant have a animal it is our human right to have one if we want one.
Plus animals have a soothing effect on sick people or people who are dying. They help blind people so they can get out of the house. They can also help doing chores around the house. Animals have as much right as we have to live on this planet.
Tweetbirdie
27th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
If we go with this its like saying no pets NO HUMANS as well we have to be taken into the over all facts as well, I want my pet.
JoyceS41
27th Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
my pets are an important part of my life, i live on my own and they provide companionship, a reason to get up and carry on with my daily life, they are not my first pets and may not be my last but no one has the right to say you should not have pets as they produce to many emissions they have the right to live as much as any other creature
PhillipB6
27th Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
why dont we just limit woman to having just 2 baby.s instead
JeanetteS25
28th Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
we dont live in China
Hazbeck48
27th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
Our 17 year old cat passed away recently, and reluctantly, we will not be replacing him, but not for the reasons Mr McCarthy gives. All three cats we have owned (over the past 35+ years) have been totally unique characters, and each of them gave us so much joy. However much I should like another rescue cat, we have to be practical at our ages, as both the physical challenges, as well as the costs involved are unrealistic.
Wilf
27th Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
I think a lot of people save the planet by having pets as we do not go on many holidays as we do not want to leave our dogs alone.
DekeD
27th Apr 2021
8
Thanks for voting!
If I replaced my pet it would always be with a rescue pet, they are already in the system and the only alternative would be euthanasia for all rescue pets which is unthinkable. If it was illegal to buy or sell pets from any source except rescue centres or authorised breeders then this would reduce the numbers of unwanted pets. Heavy sentences and fines are in order for illegal buying and selling of animals.
JeanetteS25
28th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
very good point and well said
Sachesse
27th Apr 2021
9
Thanks for voting!
I thought this article was an April Fools joke at first. However, as seems not I suggest you could use the same argument for us humans. Would you consider not replacing humans to save the planet? We do all the same things as our pets, eat the same etc. So really it’s a ridiculous premise and you wonder how people come up with these ideas.
Mavesway
27th Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
I had a budgie when I was a child, and can understand people’s need for a pet for company (I am 81). But I am not a domestic pet person! I like animals but think they should be in their natural wild environment. I love the large wild cats - lions, cheetah, leopard etc
anubis
27th Apr 2021
11
Thanks for voting!
This something I feel strongly about I think before we start even contemplating what happens to replaced pets maybe responsible pet ownership should be the way to go, neutering of cats and dogs to prevent unwanted litters being produced. Puppy farms closed down. I have a cat and dog both family not pets, both neutered and well controlled. They create much less waste and no litter like many humans do, they don`t fill the oceans with plastic or the streets with discarded bottles, tins cigarette ends, food and wrappings, used masks they don`t fly tip or start fires with discarded bbq`s. Lets not forget what they provide us with, companionship, during lock down they were invaluable giving a reason to exercise, for me a reason to get out of bed some days and they were here long before humans.
Bald123
27th Apr 2021
9
Thanks for voting!
I think pets especially dogs are so good for our mental health and exercise. There are probably a lot more things we can stop to save the environment before we stop having our best friends around us.
Munsterlander
27th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
I love our dogs and they are part of our family. I do worry about the amount of food pets eat especially as for example thousands of tons of krill in the antarctic are fished to provide pet food? Also all cats should have bells around their necks to stop them from killing birds which is really bad for the enviroment.

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