A scientist has worked out that the overall calorific consumption of America’s cats and dogs is about 19% of human calorific consumption. Putting it into context it is about the same amount as the entire population of France. This is quite an interesting image to hold in one’s mind. I am not sure if that means the entire human population or human plus animal population but it is a very large number.
The reason why this scientist, UCLA geographer Gregory Orkin, worked out the calorific consumption of cats and dogs in America is because he wanted to work out the contribution of dogs and cats to global warming. In short, the carbon footprint of cats and dogs. Let’s focus on pets.
First you have to agree that global warming exists – some don’t; in fact a lot don’t including the President of the USA. However, little by little people are beginning to see the validity of the argument that humans are causing global warming.
In this context, America’s estimated 163 million dogs and cats, eat enough animal product to produce around 64 million tonnes of methane and nitrous oxide. These are two powerful greenhouse gases. This is equivalent to driving 13.6 million cars for a year.
In all, the cats and dogs of America consumed about one third of the animal-derived calories that humans do. This may be because their diets are generally higher in meat.
The statistics are probably more academic than useful. Nothing will change as result of knowing this information. Cats are obligate carnivores as we all know by now. They’re very popular animal companions and their numbers are increasing. The same goes for dogs. Dogs are omnivores and they could eat less animal-based food. This would reduce their impact on global warming because, for example, producing 1 kg of beef is responsible for 1000 kg of carbon dioxide, a well-known gas which causes global warming.
Make of this information what you will. I decided it was interesting. What caught my eye was the calorific consumption of cats and dogs equalling that of France.
Americans are the world’s greatest cat and dog owners.