New research shows that 9 percent of all wild animals killed for their meat worldwide are killed for cat and dog food. So the environmental impact of what we serve our four-legged friends is significant.
The study, conducted by professor of animal welfare and ethics Andrew Knight of the University of Winchester in the UK, calculated that if all dogs in the world followed a vegetarian diet, it would save an area of land used for raising livestock that would be greater than in Mexico. If all cats were also fed plant-based food, this would mean a larger area than Germany.
Moreover, the use of water and carbon dioxide2– In this case, emissions from bioindustry will be significantly reduced; Producing cat food alone emits more carbon dioxide2 From New Zealand.
Not animal friendly
Many nutrients found in meat, such as vitamin B12It is extremely important for dogs, especially cats. Now that there are more and more ways to administer these substances in vegetarian form, a properly composed vegetarian diet is not necessarily worse than a meat-based diet, as Knight has shown in previous studies of both dogs and cats. In fact, there are signs that there are health benefits to living a meat-free life. For example, cats and dogs on a vegetarian diet had to visit the vet less often.
The Animal Protection Society is positive about the findings, but stresses that owners must be careful. The organization said in its response: “If there is a way to provide pets with the necessary nutrients without the need for meat, then we are of course open to it.” “We advise pet owners who are considering a vegan diet for their dog or cat to always consult their veterinarian and, if necessary, an animal nutritionist. The welfare of the animal should be central.
The organization stresses that it is not easy to “remove a dog or cat from its meat.” “The Dutch pet food supply is of good quality, but it is very meat-focused.” Young people can change this, because they more often choose plants, says the Animal Protection Society. “Processed meats can also offer a solution, although of course they are not vegetarian.”
Everyone should eat less meat, but becoming a vegetarian is not necessary
The way people eat is the biggest cause of nature loss around the world. But you don’t have to become vegan to save the Earth.