Impact of Pets on Carbon Footprint a 'Big Elephant in the Room', Says UK Politician

A politician in Dorset, England, denied on January 7 that he wanted to ban or exterminate dogs and cats after comments he made at a council meeting in which he said the impact of pets on meeting emissions targets was “a big elephant in the room.”

At a meeting of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board about environmental issues on January 5, Councillor Mark Howell asked if a target of being carbon neutral could be met “without addressing the issue of the carbon footprint and methane of pets.”

Howell said that “some people are quite dismissive” of the point he had raised and that “obviously, there’s an emotional reaction”. He went on to provide claims about the environmental impact of pets, and material relating to pets.

“It is a big problem that I feel should be represented within the 2050 analysis of carbon emissions,” he said.

He raised the issue of the size of pets and how this related to carbon emissions.

“You don’t have to have an enormous dog,” he said. “You can have a smaller dog. A cat is more efficient in some respects, but cats cause enormous biodiversity problems.”

In a video published on January 7, Howell said his comments had attracted “a lot of rubbish” on Twitter saying he wanted to ban pets, which he denied was his position.

“I’m not saying we should ban dogs, or exterminate dogs, or cats,” he said. “What I’m saying is that people need to think carefully when their animals pass away whether they need to replace them; whether they need to scale down the size of their pets; perhaps, whether they need to share pets.”

He said it was a serious issue that it appeared politicians were afraid to raise because of a fear of a backlash. Credit: BCP Council via Storyful

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