Your pet has a bigger carbon footprint than your car?

My neighborhood is full of people who drive Priuses to haul their Labrador Retrievers to the park for a run. According to two New Zealand researchers, the beloved pet they are hauling has twice the carbon footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser. The three cats at home? Each of them mucks up the environment about as much as a compact car. The conclusion the two drew is clear in the title of their new book, Time To Eat the Dog.

As reported in the New Scientist, the researchers, Robert and Brenda Vale of Victoria University of Wellington, based their conclusions on the ecological impact of the food pets consume. To grow the meat and grain needed for a dog's diet leaves a carbon footprint of 2.7 acres. A large dog, they estimated, gobbles up around a pound of meat a day and well as over half a pound of grain.