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How the Pet Food Industry is Fueling The Climate Crisis

How the Pet Food Industry is Fueling The Climate Crisis

Reading Time: 8 Minutes

Imagine all the possibilities. 76 million pet dogsAnd 58 million pet catsThe United States of America has a total of 2,000 people who eat meat daily. If these pets could have their own country, it might rank highly. FifthIn terms of global meat consumption. Add the 12.5 million dogsAnd12 million catsThe UK. Then, 54 million dogsAnd58 million catsChina, and so forth. That’s a lot We all know that animals are eating more meat than we do, and that this is causing severe digestive problems for our planet.

2017ResearchIt was revealed that pets now consume about 25% of all the calories from American animal meat. The picture will likely be similar due to our love for furry friends in the UK, Europe, and increasingly Asia. But don’t dogs and cats just eat “by-products,” the rubbish bits of meat that humans don’t want? Surely we’re just UpYou have leftovers that you don’t want to throw away.  

Not necessarily. Today, more and more of us want to feed our pets premium “human-grade” or raw meat diets. This means that cows, pigs and chickens are being bred, killed, and other animals are also being bred. ParticularlyFor dog food, the US has as high as 30% of intensively raised animals. Yet most of us have largely ignored the increasing environmental impact of our pets’ high-protein “ancestral” raw meat diets. How much of a difference can pet food really be?

Turns out, quite a lot.

Problem with meat-based pet food

NumerousReportsHave you found?Animal agricultureBetween half and 87 percent of annual greenhouse gases emissions are caused by meaty dog food, which is now a major player in climate crisis. 2020ResearchThe University of Edinburgh found that almost three percent of total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions comes from pet food. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the same amount of CO2 produced by A sixth of all global flights are from China.

Animal farming’s link to climate breakdown is undeniable. Credit: Adobe Stock

Feeding cats and dogs in America is a common practice.Calculatedit can cause as much environmental damage as the emission of nearly 14,000,000 cars for a year. 

And that’s just greenhouse gases. We also need to consider the environmental impacts from the additional land, water, fossil fuels, phosphates, and biocides needed to feed and farm the animals that go into our pet’s “gourmet, human-grade” meaty chunks. 

Edinburgh research shows that making meat-based food to feed cats and dogs takes up a lot of land. Each year, the UK is twice the size..

If we don’t significantly reduce the amount of meat we’re eating and feeding,Researchers calculate that the livestock industry could account for up to 49 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions allowable under the 2°C and 1.5°C targets by 2030. Without dietary change, we’ll need to make substantial reductions in other areas such as manufacturing, housing, and transportation to meet climate goals, far beyond what is realistic. 

A food system that is outdated

Aside from the environmental damage, we’re seeing increasing evidence that our existing food system is broken. Brexit has significantly affected the profitability and viability of our meat industry. We have lost duty-free access the European market, and we have experienced significant delays in imports of lamb, particularly lamb, due to new customs regulations.

Bird flu is also spreading across the globe, meaning we’re about to see reductions in supplies of poultry. The meat and eggs are being affected by bird flu. Are available may lose their “high-welfare” or “free-range” labeling, since thousands of chickens are being locked inside for months to prevent the spread of infection (this issue is currently impacting Every egg supplier in the UK).

The animal-based food systems are becoming more vulnerable. Credit: Adobe Stock

All of this means that empty shelves in supermarkets during global pandemic were likely to be a predictor of the future and not a nightmare of yesterday. The rising cost of living and conflict in Ukraine are additional economic pressures on the meat industry. In a world of increasing food insecurity and rising energy prices, why rely on a fragile system based on animal exploitation when we don’t need to? 

Are cheaper ‘by-product’ dog foods the answer?

But what if you’re buying pet food made from the by-products of the meat industry? What’s the harm in using up this “waste” meat? Quite aside from health and safety concerns of feeding our beloved dogs and cats animal parts that we wouldn’t wish to eat ourselves, using up by-products in this way helps keep intensive animal farming operations running. 

According to the National Renderers AssociationAnimal agriculture, i.e., factory agriculture, would not exist without the pet food sector. The amount of meat considered inedible by humans – such as bones, fat, blood, feathers, and internal organs – “is a large volume of by-product that would quickly overtake landfills if not rendered,” the organization says. “The sustainability of animal agriculture depends on a reasonable and practical use of the byproducts generated.”

The animal farming industry must continue to be profitable if it is to produce pet food meat, leather, or other animal by-products. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, beef, veal, and pork by-products account for up to 19 percent of the industry’s total value. These byproducts are a way to keep meat prices low and allow the animal agriculture industry to thrive.

When we purchase food made up of “leftover” meat, we’re perpetuating a cruel, broken food system. Why would anyone who cares about animals do that? 

Pet food as a public threat to public health

Contrary to popular belief, dogs can be omnivores and not carnivores. Credit: THE PACK

Raw meat is worse than by-products. The British Small Animal Veterinary Association and American Veterinary Medical Association and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association state that raw meat can carry harmful bacteria, such as E.coli and salmonella, into pets and homes.An FDA studyResearch has shown that raw meat-based pet foods are more susceptible to being contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.

This isn’t just bad news on a micro-level. This is not just bad news on a micro-level.Research paper last year warned that “the trend for feeding dogs raw food may be fueling the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.” The raw foods analyzed in the study included beef, goose, duck, salmon, turkey, chicken, and lamb. More than half of the foods tested positive to Enterococcus bacteria. More than 40% of these enterococci were resistant multiple antibiotics. And, most alarmingly, nearly a quarter were resistant to linezolid, a drug considered to be a “last-resort antibiotic.” That means it is used only when other drugs have failed to treat an infection – put simply, if that fails too, we’re f*cked. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to humankind’s future on this planet.

Raw meat has the potential to transform our lives. PetsStudies have shown that it can also lead to serious immune system impairment, increasing the risk of getting sick.Humans are facing a greater public health crisis. 

Are fish-based pet foods better?

Many pet parents believe that salmon and other seafood is healthier and more sustainable for their pets. But what about the antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals used to raise farmed fish and how they can seep into oceans?

Then there’s the impact of using fish caught in the wild. Pet food companies are threatening ecosystems by starving wild marine animals. We are closer to fishless oceans if we give our pets more seafood.

This was earlier in the year A chilling study was published revealing that some brands of fish-based pet food in Singapore contained endangered shark species, listed vaguely as “ocean fish.” Roughly a third of the 144 pet food samples tested contained shark DNA, including the silky shark, sicklefin weasel shark, Caribbean sharpnose shark, sand tiger shark, and whitetip reef, all listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. 

This start-up aims at making the pet food industry transparent. Credit: THE PACK

This is a disturbing situation on several levels. First, from a conservation standpoint (shark population has declined more than 70% over the past 50 years); second, because the meat is likely a byproduct the cruel. Shark fin trade; and because it shows that when it comes to meat-based pet food, pet parents simply don’t know what they’re really buying. 

Many of us worry about the future of our planet’s wildlife, but we still feed our pets meat every day, despite our concerns. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Dogs who are omnivores can still thrive on a plant-based, meat-free diet. 

That’s why new pet food companies like THE PACK are offering sustainable meals that protect the planet without compromising on taste. These meals were developed in consultation with scientists and animal nutritionists as well as food-technologists. THE PACK’s No-Fishy DishyWet food is enriched with umami flavors, which mimic the taste of fish. Each can contains healthy, identifiable ingredients like pea protein, lupin beans, papaya, blueberries, and butternut squash – and no sharks lurk at the bottom!

How to enhance your dog’s diet

So where do we start? Simply adding more plant-based ingredients into your dog’s diet in place of meat is a fantastic first step. Many pet parents are already reducing the amount of meat and dairy they consume themselves, and there’s no reason why your dog can’t also be a “flexitarian”! 

Pet food doesn’t have to be unhealthy, or detrimental to the planet. Credit: THE PACK

For example, swapping meat-based treats for vegetable ones can make a big impact. Plant-based alternatives to meat use far fewer natural resources, and produce significantly less greenhouse gas emissions.One third of all calories from the crops we grow are fed to farmed animals, with only 12 percent of those calories being “recycled” by humans when we eat meat, eggs, and dairy. That’s an enormous waste!

Let’s put it this way: If we stopped growing plants to feed farm animals, and instead grew pulses and fruits for humans and pets then we could feed them. an extra 350 million people(And a lot of other dogs, too).

We need to ensure that our pets are fed sustainable pet food. Going straight to the calorie source – plants – improves health at the same time as reducing environmental damage. According to the calculations ofAnimal nutritionists, if you are vegan yourself and you switch your 70-pound retriever to a plant-based diet, together you could save 2,200 gallons of water, about 60 square feet of rainforest, about 90 pounds of grain, and two farmed animals’ lives – every day.

Even if your dog is a flexitarian and their meat consumption is cut by half or even less, that’s still a lot of land, water, and animal lives spared. Many of THE PACK’s customers are pet parents who wish to feed plant-based food a few days a week, or as a substitute for one meat-based meal a day. These people and their dogs are making a huge difference. To quantify this better, THE PACKTo determine the CO2 emissions from its plant-based food relative to its meat-based counterparts, the company conducted a lifecycle analysis (farm-to-pet) A can of beef-based dog food accounted for more than 17 times the CO2 emissions of its No-Moo Ragu counterpart. 

According to the company, every time someone buys a can of plant-based dog foods instead of beef, they save 3.28kg CO2. That’s the same as driving 16.4 kilometers in a new car, or using 32.8 liters of water.

Even for so-called “low-emission” meat-based pet food, like fish and chicken, the results were significant. The ingredients in THE PACK’s No-Fishy Dishy and No-Cluck Casserole created less than A sixtha higher level of CO2 than their animal-based counterparts. 

See Also
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Food dogs love food

A new era in pet food is here. Credit: THE PACK

Damien Clarkson and Judy Nadel, co-founders of THE PACK, don’t want pet parents to feel like they have to pick between their dog and the planet. Who would? Their products ensure that dogs can still enjoy their food, while also lowering their risk of illness. environmental pawprint.

“As pet parents ourselves we are obsessed with creating food our dogs love, nothing gives us greater pleasure than dogs chowing down and enjoying our food,” they said in a statement. “We are part of a new era of innovation in pet food meaning dog parents don’t have to compromise.”

“Now you can choose products like THE PACK and give your loved companion enjoyment from their food and in doing so you will be tackling the climate crisis through choosing planet friendly meals.”

***

Over the next 50 years, if we continue to do little to nothing to reverse the climate crisis, we’ll struggle to find enough resources to feed ourselves. As antibiotic resistance increases, we may see more pandemics. This is due to the rise in raw pet food. How will we be able to afford to keep our pets safe as the climate crisis worsens and the pressure on natural resources increases?

Let’s not put ourselves in a position where we need to answer that question. We can create a safer future for our dogs, their families, and the world by giving them plants to eat instead of meat.


Plant Based NewsThe PACK has partnered with the company to offer 20% off its meaty, plant-based dog food. Use the code PBN20 at checkout to get 20% off your meaty, plant-based wet food for dogs www.thepackpet.com

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