Feeding the world Fun With Numbers

Time to Eat The Dog

With a title like Time to Eat the Dog? A real guide to sustainable living you can sure a book will sell a lot of copies, and earn the authors a fair bit of hatemail at the same time. The book itself by Robert and Brenda Vale received mixed reviews on But what about the premise of the book? (Which isn’t actually that dogs make great food sources, but rather that keeping carnivores as pets is a major resource burden.)

In an article on new scientist, the authors calculate that it takes .84 hectares (that’s over 2 acres!) of farmland to support a medium sized dog. Larger dogs like German Shepherds have a footprint of 1.1 hectares (2.7 acres)  Through some calculations they then start comparing the impact of a dog to various cars, but that hinges on assigning energy production values to farmland, which in my opinion is the weak link in their calculation.

So why not look at how dog ownership compares to the land required to feed a human being?