In California, UCLA professor Gregory Okin calculated that meat-eating by dogs and cats creates about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, or, about the same climate impact as a year’s worth of driving from 13.6 million cars. 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.
“I like dogs and cats, and I’m definitely not recommending that people get rid of their pets or put them on a vegetarian diet, which would be unhealthy,” Okin said. “But I do think we should consider all the impacts that pets have so we can have an honest conversation about them. Pets have many benefits, but also a huge environmental impact.”
If American dogs and cats were a country, they would rank fifth, behind only Russia, Brazil, United States and China in meat consumption.