The animal rights movement wants to ban human ownership of any and all animals — including your beloved pets — although that is rarely advertised since it would cost AR groups donations from misguided pet lovers who conflate animal welfare organizations with those supporting “liberation.”
Now, environmental radicals are beginning to plow the same ground. An article in New Scientist takes aim at keeping pets, inspired by a scientific paper that excoriates cats. Why, did you know they kill mice?! They also eat meat and then poop, emitting green house gases! They are, we are told sternly, an unsustainable “environmental vice that we must confront!” From, “Why You Should Worry About Your Pet’s Ecological Footprint,” by staff writer Graham Lawton:
Pet ownership also imposes wider environmental costs. Added together, all the cats and dogs in the US consume the same amount of energy as 60 million people, effectively increasing the population by a fifth.
Ingredients in pet food are often leftovers from the human food chain, but this isn’t always the case. Even if they are, they still have to be processed, packaged and transported. What comes out the other end is an even stinkier problem, equivalent to the faeces of 90 million people, generating 64 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.
Being an animal lover and caring about the environment often go hand in hand. But they aren’t compatible. I hate to say it, but pet ownership is another unsustainable aspect of modern consumer lifestyles that we are going to have to confront. It isn’t the biggest, but it isn’t negligible. Like almost every other environmental vice, the problem is getting worse as pet ownership rises around the world.
Lawton writes that he was heartbroken by the recent loss of the younger of his two cats, but is consoled because it was “the planet’s gain.” When his older feline also goes the way of all flesh, he plans to do his part to save us from environmental destruction by giving up pets — just as he has given up meat. His hysteria, his loss.
Lawton’s earnest proselytizing illustrates the decline of an environmental movement that has shriveled from greats like John Muir to petty scolds who want to desiccate contemporary life of all joy and comfort. On the positive side, that’s not a battle flag most people will follow.