So apparently my dog has a larger carbon footprint than an SUV...
According to the book "Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living" by Robert and Brenda Vales, a "medium" sized dog has an annual footprint of 0.84 hectares. My dog happens to be big, so I'm guessing he's an even larger drain on the world's resources.
(The Vales also claim that dogs decrease biodiversity where they are walked. Clearly these two have never seen the chipmunks who scamper all over my dog's area of the yard. Not only are they not intimidated by his presence, some days I'm convinced they're screwing with his head.)
Back to the point... The Vales would rather I replace my dog with a dual-purpose pet. Like a chicken.
You read that right. A chicken. Because they lay eggs, so they're dual-purpose pets. Except you can't cuddle a chicken, take it for a walk with you or play fetch with it. Theoretically, I suppose you could - but who's gonna? So a chicken isn't a pet, it's livestock. Leave it to vegans to not understand the difference.
Or you could get a rabbit. They crunch veggies, like vegans, so they have a lower carbon footprint than my meat-eating dog. According to Robert Vales, "Rabbits are good, provided you eat them."
Ummm... if you eat it, it isn't a pet. We're back to the livestock thing.
Here's what the authors don't get: My dog is better than dual-purpose. He's multi-purpose. My dog is my best pal - he tells no tales, and he never interrupts me. He's a security system, because a big dog has a big bark - nobody will get near my home without my knowledge. He's superior to a mechanical security system because, while an intruder could ignore an alarm or disable it, it's damn difficult to ignore or disable an alarm that has its teeth sunk into your butt. He's a babysitter - nobody messes with "his" kids. He's entertainment, because you can't not laugh at something as dippy as he is. And he's an automatic comforter - he knows when "his people" need companionship, and without being asked or told he's right there with some love and a snuggle.
I don't think you can factor a carbon footprint for my dog that takes into consideration his many duties and all the benefits of having him in the family. But that's where vegans miss the boat (as usual). A dog, with it's many uses and positive points, is a single-purpose pet to them A rabbit - if you eat is - is better because we can call it dual-use... never mind that it's usefulness as a pet ends the minute you kill and eat it.
I've warned the vegans before to watch meddling in my life choices. Now let me expand upon my warning:
I love my dog. I frankly don't care what his carbon footprint might be. And when he leaves us for whatever comes next I'll get another big, loveable furball - the next in a chain that stretches from my childhood to (hopefully) my old age. I will keep dogs in my life as long as I can, even if they're each worse than 15 SUVs... And I'll continue to feed them meat, because that's what they like, and carbon footprint be damned.
And if the vegans don't like it? They should bear in mind my dog sees them the same way I do.