End animal slavery. There’s a moral reason to do so, not just an environmental one. My reason is stronger actually. Let the horses free, let the blindperson slave dogs free–let all animals just live according to nature again…and NOT have them be dependan…t on us in any way, or have them imprint on us, or have there destinies be controlled by us. How blind are we as a species, that we can claim to give a shit, when in actuality, our ‘caring’ perpetuates a moral wrong? Thanks to Anwar for that conversation we had almost 10 years ago, for opening my eyes to this.
Save the planet — kill your pets
As the Copenhagen melodrama reaches its weepy climax, many fretful Canadians might believe the only way to save the world from catastrophic climate change is to take matters into their own hands by severely reducing their personal carbon footprints. For guidance, some might look to the likes of this newspaper’s Diane Francis who, in a notorious column published last week, called for a “planetary law” to restrict couples to a single child.
Too extreme for you? Then allow me to suggest a more-immediate, less disturbing alternative to radical human de-population: radical pet de-population.
According to a recent Ipsos Reid study, an estimated 56% of all Canadian households have at least one dog or cat. Similarly, a federal government report found that Canadians own eight million of the critters — the vast majority of which, it must be stated, serve little practical purpose.
You know where this is going: Eco-conscious Canadians could lower their households’ carbon footprint by eliminating, as it were, their pets’ carbon paw-print.
An argument for this can be found in the provocatively entitled book, Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, published earlier this year by Robert and Brenda Vale of New Zealand. The couple (who may well be under police protection by now, as far as I know), declare that simply feeding an average-sized dog has the eco-footprint of building and fueling a Toyota Land Cruiser. A cat’s eco-paw-print is somewhat less: about the same as a Volkswagen Golf.
Moreover, their calculations did not even take into account the many specialized services and goods to which pet owners can now avail themselves. Anyone for a trip to the Urban Barkery to load up on baked delicacies for precious little Fifi? Or how about the latest in waterproof body wear, booties, bejewelled collars or scents? There’s even a “satin designer bed” available for that special “pampered pooch.”
For the vast majority of Canadians, pet ownership is a luxury. Therefore, it seems hypocritical for activists to caterwaul about “saving the planet” from the evils of carbon-spewing capitalism and overpopulation when there are so many non-essential animals taking up space, using up resources and exhaling carbon emissions out of their little snouts.
Consider, for example, a Canadian group called Moms Against Climate Change, which recently produced a disturbing video showing a mob of angry children clashing with riot police. The group warns of “starving bears, droughts, floods … and even more extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and tornados” should drastic action not be taken.
Angela Morgan of Dundas, Ont., states on the Moms website that she has a husband, two children, two cats and a dog. It sounds like a lovely household but, in light of the carbon-spewing potential of those three pets, it also stinks of hypocrisy.
Columnist Francis didn’t shirk from suggesting that governments control family size. But, if we’re talking population control, a far more palatable measure would be to limit or even ban the ownership of dogs and cats. If such a law were passed, one can even imagine a commando team of veterinarians invading Ms. Morgan’s home, euthanasia syringes at the ready …
Don’t think for a minute that I am actually calling for this. Rather, I am merely pointing out that many of the environmentalists who assail us for driving SUVs or drinking bottled water, and seek laws that forbid us from doing so, could easily cut their own households’ carbon output by tons merely by getting rid of their family pets.
Why don’t they? Could it be that, behind their militant rhetoric, they secretly know what the rest of us do — that there is more to life than single-mindedly pursuing environmentalist dogma?
The irony of it is that many green leaders — including the aforementioned Angela Morgan — positively boast about their pets, taking them as a badge of Earth-lovingness. But from a carbon-counting point of view, they might as well have a garage full of SUVs.
I will not comment on the question of whether or not an environmentally sensitive household should go so far as to adopt the gastronomic action suggested by the authors Vale, other than to point out that a great many cultures already embrace the idea. You can look it up.
Terry O’Neill is a Vancouver writer and editor. He co-hosts RoadKillRadio.com.