on Pet Food

Slate’s environmental columnist has written a thorough piece on the environmental impact of feeding dogs and cats a meat-based diet. This is a surprisingly complex subject to research and write about, and the piece gets off to an incredibly strong start, beautifully explaining the central facts that are at issue.

But in its final two paragraphs the piece goes off track. The advice here seems inappropriate for cats—specifically, no disclaimer is inserted about taurine, and the need for veterinary supervision when putting a cat on a largely meatless diet. The suggestion to feed animals table scraps seems almost totally unworkable for cats, especially in vegetarian households. And no warning is made to chicken eaters, who might be unaware of the hazards of allowing their dog to bite into food that contains chicken bones.

So, on balance, this is a nice introduction to some of the environmental issues surrounding pet food, but its concluding advice weakens an otherwise great piece. Link.