Experts recently came together at the 9th Annual Robert Dixon Memorial Animal Welfare Symposium at Sydney University’s School of Veterinary Science, to discuss how to reduce a companion animal’s carbon footprint.
Australians are increasingly identifying their pets as family members and spending more and more on much-loved companion animals each year. The average dog now costs $1500 a year to feed, the average cat, $1000 a year.
Research suggests that dogs and cats are responsible for up to 30 per cent of the environmental impact of red meat consumption in the United States. But is it ethical to kill one animal to feed another one? What should we feed our pets when food production generates millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases and millions of humans are undernourished? Can we reduce our pets’ eco paw-print and care for our animals ethically? These were just some of the questions addressed by the experts attending.
“Animal welfare, human wellbeing and environmental sustainability are inextricably linked,” said Dr Anne Fawcett, companion animal veterinarian and part-time lecturer within the School of Veterinary Science.
“We know that companion animals are important to us, but we can take steps to reduce their paw-print. We can also modify our own diets and lifestyle habits to reduce our carbon footprints—we have the choice.”