‘Americans and Europeans spend $17 billion on pet food every year, $4 billion more than the additional amount needed to cover basic nutrition and health for every person on the planet’
– UN Human Development Report, 1998.
This does not mean that the world would be a better place if our companion animals were suddenly starved or abandoned – but it provides a strong argument for neutering our pets and for supporting animal rescue centres such as The Blue Cross, or animal rescue centres rather than breeders. Kittens are cute, but think ‘ecological pawprint’! – we need to care more for each pet, rather than to have more pets to care for.
The environmental issues around cats and dogs relate to feeding, cleaning up after them, dealing with pets-parasites, and cats and wildlife. Cats and dogs are among the commonest pets in the UK and have a significant impact on the environment. But many other creatures: guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, other small furry creatures, fish and birds; are kept as pets. The basic issues are the same: consider the implications of what they eat, their waste products, the spaces you need to provide for them and their interactions with land and wildlife.