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24 Jan, 2019 22:25

‘Climate-smart eating’? Swedish professor calls for ‘vegetarian pets,’ gets blasted online

‘Climate-smart eating’? Swedish professor calls for ‘vegetarian pets,’ gets blasted online

Hyper-progressive Sweden is a bastion of environmentalism and veganism, but a Swedish professor is now drawing ridicule for suggesting that pet owners should feed their dogs a vegetarian diet, all in the name of saving the planet.

Reducing CO2 emissions and recycling packaging have long been understood as important steps towards curbing climate change. However, the environmental lobby has recently begun to target meat consumption too. A widely publicized report in October argued that beef consumption in Western countries needs to fall by 90 percent to avoid climate catastrophe. Another equally apocalyptic report from the EAT-Lancet commission, released last week, recommended that meat and dairy consumption be drastically reduced worldwide.

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The growing anti-meat consensus has drawn backlash from butchers, livestock farmers, and meat-lovers worldwide. The Swedes, however, have been eager to get on board. One in ten Swedes follows a vegetarian diet, while four percent are vegan, the second-highest percentage in Europe.

According to one guest on Swedish TV network TV4, changing your own diet isn’t enough.

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"We humans can choose to eat less meat or quit it altogether, but what about our pets?" began a segment on its morning program. "Is your dog a polluter?" read the on-screen text.

Sigrid Agenäs, a professor at the Swedish Agricultural University, argued that a vegetarian diet is totally fine for dogs, provided the pooch gets the right supplements. Agenäs called the diet “climate smart eating.”

For the network’s viewers, Agenäs was barking up the wrong tree.

“So, for real? Have you lost it completely? Before, it was cows & their gases, and now dog food that threatens the climate?’” read one Facebook comment.

“Oh, my God. Put your energy into something else,” read another. “What about all the wild animals?...You understand why the world looks like it does when all these lunatics are released in the media.”

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“How far is the environmental movement going?” another commenter asked. “Everything will be sacrificed on the altar of the environment.”

To be fair, Agenäs did suggest that if dogs eat meat, then they should be fed offal and other leftovers from the slaughterhouse, as well as scraps from our dinner plates, ensuring that as much of the animal as possible gets used.

Another Swedish Radio report earlier this week suggested feeding pets insect-based kibble, citing its “enormous” climate and dietary benefits.

Feeding cats and dogs a vegetarian or vegan diet is endorsed by animal rights activist group PETA. However, multiple other animal welfare groups have advised against the practice. In Britain, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warned pet owners that cats are carnivores and “need a source of animal protein to survive.”

While dogs can fare better on a veg-heavy diet, the RSPCA advised pet owners to talk to a vet before making the switch, because owners who let their pets become malnourished through a vegan diet could risk a criminal conviction for breaking the Animal Welfare Act.

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