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The horse as a climate sinner
A Swiss company has investigated the Ecobalances of different Pets. This includes feeding, Shelter, and purchases for the animal. Particularly bad is the environmental balance of horses. The keeping of a horse for over a year, corresponds to the environmental load of a 21 500-kilometre car journey. In comparison to the General consumer Pets have only a small share of the climate balance sheet. In addition, their attitude also has health benefits. the Joachim Laukenmann

The book provokes title: "it Is time to eat the dog?", in the Original English: "Time to eat the dog?" The two new Zealand authors Brenda and Robert Vale calculate in a dog causing worse environmental impact than a Car. Since this is the 2009 released book, the dog came again and again under attack. The Thesis of the ecological disaster of dog (and cat) was picked up by many media and widely used, recently in the Swiss newspaper look, under the title: "lumpy is a bastard". It says: "Emotionally, lumpy and Kitty are considered to be the cutest family members, but their ecological paw or a paw print similar to that of a large car."

is that True? And what about the environmental balance in other animal species? "We have noticed that there was for Pets so far, no really thorough LCA," says Niels Jungbluth, CEO of ESU-Services, a company that specialises in life cycle assessment. "Now, we have investigated for some selected species."

car rides

In the study, all of the relevant influences were recorded on the environmental balance sheet, including feeding, Dwelling, holding, Car rides going for walks or to the vet, as well as purchases for the pet. The use of the method of ecological scarcity, the different environmental impacts for reasons of simplicity summarized in a single indicator, the environmental impact points (UBP). To illustrate this, the authors of the study compared the results of the environmental impact of a car journey.

Of the examined animals showed horses, by far the worst environmental footprint. The attitude of a horse over the course of a year in accordance with the calculations of Jungbluth and his assistant, Jasmine, Anna, home of the environmental load of a 21 500-kilometre car journey. This is significantly more than an average vehicle in Germany per year (a good 13 000 km). The life cycle assessment of a dog is equivalent to a yearly Car mileage of 3700 kilometers. The title of the book "Time to eat your dog?" give a false picture of the Situation, says Jungbluth. In the case of a cat, the environmental load 1400 corresponds to the annual mileage. In addition, two rabbits, eleven birds or 100 ornamental fish capturing around the eco-balance of a cat.

Generally increases the burden on the environment with the size of the pet. Large animals eat and drink more. It is advantageous, of course, if several people, such as a family, hold the animal together. This improves the Per-capita balance sheet. The study also shows that the kind of attitude and the food can have a marked influence on the environmental impact. "Although it is not expected that a horse comes the case of optimally eco-friendly attitude to the level of a dog," says Anna home. "But it has to be used instead of straw as litter, local wood shavings, decreases the burden on the environment, after all, almost 30 percent."

organic food for dogs is particularly harmful for the climate

In dogs, the normal feed consists mainly of by-products and slaughterhouse waste. "Therefore, the normal dog food is not that big of a burden for the environment," says Jungbluth. Who luxury food put in front of his dog, however, deteriorates the environmental balance sheet, partly solid, for example, if the four-legged friend receives biologically appropriate Rohfütterung (BARF). In the case of BARF the food consists of 75 per cent of animal matter, much of it is high quality meat. "This diet can increase the burden on the environment of a dog almost tripled," says Jungbluth. Then the dog would be at almost the same level of a passenger Car.

The example of Switzerland, we calculated Jungbluth that all the Pets together account for only one percent of the total consumption's impact on the environment. "Mobility, food and Housing are the main issues." In Germany, things are likely to be similar.

What is not possible to capture a life cycle assessment, however, are the diverse, sometimes also ecologically relevant benefits, which can go hand-in-hand with the attitude of a pet: the regular movement of the holder in the fresh air, or a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate thanks to the calming effect of animal companions for Life.

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