Archive for March 22nd, 2009

New planetary burden: Meat-eating pets

March 22, 2009

Paul Greenberg opines today in the New York Times that dogs and cats should go vegan. Writing about his cat, Greenberg says,

Coco, like most American cats, ate fish. And a great deal of them — more in a year than the average African human, according to Jason Clay at the World Wildlife Fund. And unlike the chicken or beef Coco also gobbled up, all those fish were wild animals, scooped out of the sea and flown thousands of carbon-belching miles to reach his little blue bowl.

The use of wild fish in animal feed is a serious problem for the world’s food systems. Around a third of all wild fish caught are “reduced” into fish meal and fish oil. And yet most of the outrage about this is focused not on land-based animals like Coco but on other fish — namely farm-raised fish.

But if you feel that a vegan pet would “go against nature,” Greenberg says you should “rethink a pet’s potential footprint before acquiring one”:

A carnivore, be it a cat, a dog or a salmon, is a heavy burden for the environment and should not be brought under human care lightly. In my family, this has become a topic of debate as we consider our next animal. Coco was an interesting and unique creature, and I argue that he cannot be replaced. To me, a vegetarian substitute is seeming more and more appealing. Lately, I’ve had my eye on a guinea pig.

Hats off to the New York Times for allowing Greenberg to share his thoughts with the world — otherwise, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

When a hybrid can pull a boat…

March 22, 2009

A terrific letter-to-the-editor in the Mar. 20 Wall Street Journal:

In response to Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s call for higher gas taxes (which you report in “Tax My Products, Please,” Review & Outlook, March 17), I would like to say that Americans don’t want smaller vehicles. We have great distances to travel, mountains and plains to cross in all seasons of the year. We tow our boats and other contrivances. We haul our children around and travel with them over the continent. Our businessmen drive long distances since they can no longer own corporate jets. What we want is a more efficient internal combustion engine, not a smaller car.

And do not tell us it cannot be done. It can be done, because efficient engines can be created today with off-the-shelf parts bought from General Motors, Ford or Chrysler.

A friend of mine has converted a GMC Vortec V8 gasoline engine for his 2.5 ton pickup truck and the engine delivers more than 30 mpg. Why can’t we buy this type of vehicle at the dealer? Why does individual ingenuity have to point the way to corporations that have the money, skill and engineering brainpower to deliver a more efficient engine? Why do we have to pay more at the pump?

The suggestion that consumers should pay more in gasoline taxes is a cop-out on the part of the auto makers, politicians and everyone else who supports it. This is not Europe. This is the United States of America, a vast country with amazing distances and varieties of geography and climate.

We do not want higher gas prices. We want more efficient engines to power our vehicles. We want the Big Three to use their brains to create something new, not deliver a rehash of junk from a bunch of whiners.

Bernard P. Giroux
Fall River, Mass.

Take action would like to spotlight your snappy correspondence with the media. E-mail appropriate links/info to Steve Milloy at

Doug Giles: ‘Green shoved up our backsides’

March 22, 2009

Check out Doug Giles’ column, “Welcome to Green Hell, Where You’re All a Bunch of Slaves.”

Here’s a taste:

Brace yourself, boys and girls, as we’re about to have green shoved up our backsides like never before. Yep, going emerald will soon move from being an Ed Begley, Jr./Daryl Hannah option and will quickly become a government dictate because climate change is a “fact,” or as Ron Burgundy would say, “It’s science.”

Here’s Doug’s closing — your attention, please:

Lastly, do yourself a favor—those of you who can still think freely—and get Steve Milloy’s new book Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Ruin Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them. As the founder and editor of, Steve Milloy has been monitoring the greens for over 13 years. Now, as many Americans wake up under this green thumb for the first time, Milloy can tell us what the greens are targeting first—and what we as American citizens can do to stop them.