Who knew when Bob Barker advised his television audience to, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered,” that he was fighting global warming?

The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres (6,214 miles) a year, researchers have found. Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created bypopular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them.” If you have a German shepherd or similar-sized dog, for example, its impact every year is exactly the same as driving a large car around,” Brenda Vale said.”

This should not come as too much of a surprise but more of a ‘it was only a matter of time’ After human population control has been a suggested method of reducing our carbon footprint so why not pet population control? Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission believes the carbon footprint from having more than two children will inflict too much damage on the environment to justify having any more. Porritt says,

I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate.

I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible. It is the ghost at the table. We have all these big issues that everybody is looking at and then you don’t really hear anyone say the “p” word.””

First they want to burn the bunnies, now they want to eat them? Imagine buying a pet rabbit (or worse, a dog) for your two children (because you’re not allowed to have three) and telling them you’re having the pet for dinner. The takeaway here is this: Lots of things emit carbon dioxide. It’s silly for us to think we can cap it without facing significant economic consequences. Now it’s creeping into social, cultural and behavioral changes. Granted, we’re not going to see any pet policies signed into law, but it gets back to the theme of asking people to make critical sacrifices in their lives for something that would barely budge the thermometer of the earth’s global temperature. People should be more resourceful and less wasteful but this is getting at something much deeper.