Similarly, the average dry mass fraction of animal-derived substrate k for a particular food (i.e., average grams of animal-derived k per gram of m) was calculated as the closed geometric mean: In a paper published today in the journal PLOS One, Okin says he found that cats and dogs are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States. EA,C can be calculated from data available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Table 2): the total amount of red meat (including beef, veal, pork, and lamb), poultry (including chicken and turkey) and fish (including fish and shellfish) eaten by each Americans is 59.6 kg yr-1. Because dogs and cats consume, together, 203 ± 15 PJ/year, it is estimated that dogs and cats consume a minimum of 67 ± 17 PJ/year in animal-derived energy, which is 33% ± 9% of the animal-derived energy consumed by humans in the US or 25% ± 6% of the total. Cats, too, have traditional roles in pest control in addition to their roles as pets. Investigation, where Ek is the energy density of the substrates (i.e., Atwater factors: Eprotein = Ecarbohydrate = 4J/g, EFat = 9 J/g [29]). Therefore, the average daily energy consumption for both males and females is 8,966 ± 155 kJ d-1 (2,143 ± 37 kcal d-1) [28]. Thus, it is clear, at least for countries with considerable populations of dogs and cats like the US, that the consumption by these animals should be considered when calculating national food consumption. In separate calculations for pets and humans, the impact of animal production compared to plant production was calculated as: Here, the contribution of dogs and cats to total US energy and meat consumption and the environmental impact of that meat consumption, including the production of feces, is considered. For dogs of all sizes, the average percent of owners who usually feed these meat-rich dog foods is 38%. Dog and cat animal product consumption is responsible for release of up to 64 ± 16 million tons CO2-equivalent methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gasses (GHGs). where Ij is the impact of animal production in category j (land use, water use, fossil fuels, phosphates, biocides) and Wj is the relative impact of meat protein production (Table 6). Using Eq 1, these estimates result in a total human energy intake of 1,051 ± 9 PJ y-1. They produce about 30% ± 13%, by mass, as much feces as Americans (5.1 ± Tg yr-1 vs. 17.2 Tg yr-1), and through their diet, constitute about 25–30% of the environmental impacts from animal production in terms of the use of land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides. Among the premium brands that were examined, the proportion of animal-derived product decreased as they occurred later in ingredient lists with only 21% of the sixth ingredients in dry dog food being animal-derived. But, due to the nature of the meats used in commercial pet feed, this figure may be lower. Thus, use of dry food for these calculations provides a conservative estimate of the greatest proportion of dog and cat food sales in the U.S. USDA labeling rules require that pet food ingredients be labeled in descending order of weight contribution, as they do with foods intended for humans. Additional research is needed to evaluate the animal content and human-edibility of ingredients in dog and cat food after processing, but the calculations presented here indicate that these pets comprise a significant proportion of US energy and animal-derived product consumption, with the consequent environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emission and feces production. The amount of meat consumed by American pet cats and dogs every year makes up 24-30% of the overall environmental impact of meat consumption in the … EPE for dogs and cats is calculated as 453 ± 105 PJ yr-1 compared to humans' 1810 ± 16 PJ yr-1, resulting in the conclusion that pets' share of the total plant-equivalent energy consumed by pets and humans is 20% ± 6%. The Census Bureau estimates that the total population of the US was 321 million in 2015, with roughly equal proportions of men and women [27] (Table 1). Reijnders and Soret [6] used life cycle analysis to determine the relative impact of producing meat protein compared to producing plant (soy) protein in several categories. A new study finds that dogs and cats are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the U.S. Uncertainty not available. No, Is the Subject Area "Diet" applicable to this article? In Japan, there are more than 20 million companion dogs and cats that consume resources. No, Is the Subject Area "Meat" applicable to this article? here. In addition to requiring greater land compared to plant crops to produce equivalent protein energy, and contributing to soil erosion, animal production has considerably greater impacts on water use, fossil fuel use, greenhouse gas emission, fertilizer use, and pesticide use [2–7]. PLOS ONE promises fair, rigorous peer review, Validation, The total animal-derived energy was calculated as Dog’s size has an important impact on food consumption, as well as the dietary EPP and GHG emissions, the larger the dogs, the more the food consumption and the stronger the environmental impacts. This analysis does not mean to imply that dog and cat ownership should be curtailed for environmental reasons, but neither should we view it as an unalloyed good. Original: Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats. The proportion of total animal-derived energy consumed by dogs and cats is 25% ± 6% and thus the pets' share of the livestock-related methane and nitrous oxide production is up to 64 ± 16 million tons CO2-eq GHG, although this number may be lower because, presumably, there is less waste in the production of dog and cat food. Since our pets need the nutrients in animal products in order to have a healthy diet, finding a way to minimize their impact on the environment proves challenging. (6) Cat and dog animal product consumption is responsible for the release of up to 64 ± 16 million tons of CO2-equivalent methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gasses (GHGs). The fraction of energy derived from animal products in a food m (animal-derived joules per total joules) was calculated as: For these calculations, the category ‘other’ was included to provide closure [35], that is, so that the fractions of all categories would sum to unity. Reducing the rate of dog and cat ownership, perhaps in favor of other pets that offer similar health and emotional benefits would considerably reduce these impacts. Eother was set to zero in for both total and animal-derived calculations. However, this does not mean that these calculations are not valuable to provide an estimate of the scale of the contribution of dogs and cats to these environmental impacts. where EA,C is the energy consumed by humans from animal sources (subscript A). These data were fit to separate power laws (dry: FDM = 46.2 BW-0.052, FWE = 2.57 BW0.059; canned: FDM = 34.5 BW-0.111, FWE = 4.69 BW0.110) and values for a dog of estimated mass 22 ± 1.2 kg (calculated above) were calculated. … Clickbaity title. 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