Here's something that might surprise you: Pet foods account for more than twice the carbon emissions of the aviation industry.
According to experts, pet-related carbon emissions are enormous and have long been overlooked.
Over 120 million acres of farmland are needed worldwide to produce dry pet food, according to research by the University of Edinburgh. And an estimate from UCLA found that if they were a nation of their own, America’s 163 million dogs and cats would collectively be the world’s fifth-largest meat consumer.
And that's just America! The production of feed for US pets alone causes 64 million tons of greenhouse gases annually - as much as 30 million cars and an incredible five percent of all emissions. At the same time, the number of pets is only growing. Whilst nobody is saying we should cut back on pets, it seems that an incredibly 'quick win' is to switch their diets.
Vegan or other non-meat based diets don’t compromise pet health, according to nutrition experts. “The evidence is that there is no loss in diet quality, and in some cases it’s better,” says Andrew Knight, a veterinary professor at the University of Winchester, who carried out an extensive study into vegan pet food manufacturers, looking at every stage of the process, from sourcing ingredients to nutritional quality to storage and shipping.
Research by Knight, who surveyed more than 4,000 pet owners, the largest study of its kind, found that 46 percent would be interested in switching their pets’ diets for environmental reasons. “Demand is exploding,” he says.
For the vegans, there are a number of products, including Germany’s Vegdog, which launched in 2016 and is the first 100 percent plant-based and gluten-free complete feed for dogs. Non-vegan options include U.S.-based Because Animals and Bond Pet Foods. Mirroring the future of food for humans, some businesses are even producing animal feed made from insects, including Swiss food company Nestlé and the U.K. company Yora, which produce cat and dog food using proteins from black soldier fly larvae.
If your pet likes it, why not switch?