The Current

Environmental impact of pets may mean it's time to 'eat the dog'

Are pets our loyal companions or lunch? We hear from a climate scientist who says our cats and dogs are methane-producing, meat-eating monsters and as such a major environmental concern. He says it's time to rethink our relationship with our pets and maybe even time to eat the dog.
Pets are methane producing, meat eating monsters using up earth's finite resources, says climate physicists Robbie Parks. (ebwyse, Flickr cc)
Epidemiologist Robbie Parks asks, is it time to eat the dog? (juliedesigns4u, flickr cc)

There are about 35 million Canadians... and about 14 million of our best friends, living a fairly pampered existence. But our dogs and cats are cherished companions that are rarely factored in when we talk about what needs to be done to combat climate change.

And certain voices are trying to change that — by calling attention to just how much of an ecological pawprint, those cats and dogs can have.

Robbie Parks is a climate physicist and epidemiologist sounding the alarm. He points out that our pets are methane-producing, meat-eating drags on the planet and the time may have arrived for drastic measures.

In fact, he says, the time may even have arrived to eat the dog.

​​Robbie Parks, the climate physicist who floated the idea in the first place, joined us from London, England. 

If you're recoiling at the notion of making a meal of your pets, then you're certainly not alone. After all... our cozy relationship with dogs and cats has a lot of history behind it. We've been sharing life with pets — in some form or another — for some 40,000 years.

Paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman has done a lot of digging into our relationship with those animals. Her books include "The Animal Connection," and "The Invaders: How Humans and their dogs drove Neanderthals to extinction."

Pat Shipman was in Pittsboro, North Carolina. 

Do you worry about our pets impact on the environment? What do you make of Robbie Park's provocative suggestion that the time has come to eat the dog?

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​This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant and Daisy Xiong.