Professor says dogs and cats bad for the climate, so buy a hamster instead

A UCLA professor has set off a firestorm of protest by publishing an article claiming that dogs and cats have a big impact on the climate and that pet owners should think about buying a hamster or reptile or bird instead.

Some pet owners misunderstood what Professor Gregory Okin was saying, believing he meant we should get rid of our cats and dogs.  But in a statement clarifying his paper, the professor said he wasn't saying that at all.

Washington Times:

In his paper published last week, UCLA professor Gregory S. Okin found that meat-eating dogs and cats create the equivalent of 64 million tons of carbon dioxide per year based on the energy consumption required to produce their food, or the same impact as driving 13.6 million cars.

"I like dogs and cats, and I'm definitely not recommending that people get rid of their pets or put them on a vegetarian diet, which would be unhealthy," Mr. Okin said in a statement. "But I do think we should consider all the impacts that pets have so we can have an honest conversation about them. Pets have many benefits but also a huge environmental impact."

"Americans are the largest pet owners in the world, but the tradition of pet ownership in the U.S. has considerable costs," Mr. Okin said in his Aug. 2 paper, published in PLOS One. "As pet ownership increases in some developing countries, especially China, and trends continue in pet food toward higher content and quality of meat, globally, pet ownership will compound the environmental impacts of human dietary choices."

What's the answer? Mr. Okin suggested making the transition from dogs and cats to smaller animals including hamsters, reptiles and birds, or herbivores such as horses.

I'm sure urban dwellers currently in possession of a cat would gladly swap out their feline friends for a horse.  Might get a little crowded in their efficiency apartment, but...anything for our beloved pets, yes?

But this is a serious subject.  Another environmental science professor suggests we "balance out" the impact of cats and dogs on the climate by eating less meat ourselves.

Mr. Zacharias said it's possible to mitigate the impact of meat-eating pets by giving dogs plant-based treats, such as sweet potatoes, which he does with his dog and "she loves it."

At the same time, he said, "you have to be responsible when it comes to feeding your dog or cat."

"Dogs are omnivores. Technically, they can survive without meat," he said. "I wouldn't necessarily do that, and I don't do that. Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores. They can't survive without meat. They will get sick and die."

He said pet owners can balance out the impact on the environment by eating less meat themselves.

So, what exactly do these climate change moonbats want us to do?  They don't want us to get rid of our pets but are laying a climate change guilt trip on us because we love them so.  They recommend hamsters (tasty if they are cooked right), reptiles (pretty, but dumb as a post), and birds (loud and annoying). 

I know I just offended millions of AT readers by dissing their favorite animals, but really, wouldn't it be easier just to adopt a cat?

Before they're done, climate change hysterics will have us eating rocks and roots while we try unsuccessfully to get our gerbils to sit at a command.

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