Sustainable pets: How green is my horse?

How green are our pets? We check the situation from feeding bowls to accessories, unfortunately, big business with dogs, cats and horses.

Meatballs: dogs

liner

Unfortunately, we have to be really strict from the start, because an average sized dog needs about 350 kilograms of food per year, so a total of 64 percent of a dog’s environmental impact is in the bowl. Not surprising, because standard wet food consists of half meat and ends up in environmentally harmful aluminum cans. Advantage: After all, slaughterhouse waste is disposed of here. Unfortunately, if the mistress is cooking herself, this can make the carbon dioxide emissions worse: if you limit your dog (feed raw meat parts), the climate triples, because fresh, high-quality meat ends up in the dog’s bowl. Is vegan better then? Maybe yes, says Dr. Vanessa Bach of the Department of Sustainable Engineering at the Technical University of Berlin: “But there are not yet comprehensive studies on this topic. Perhaps the plant-based feed is a little better in terms of climate than the feed made from leftover meat.” But even the vegan version cannot do without proteins like soybeans – depending on their source, this increases the footprint. Great, what now? Don’t worry, environmental rescue is nearing: startups like Ofrieda and Tenetrio are offering food made from insects. Yes, you get used to some. But maybe once or twice a week?

furnishing

Almost half of all dog owners regularly give their four-legged friends new toys. Suggestion: until napf-bar.de You can buy used balls and companies. Or maybe just make your own tug-of-war? For example, there are instructions dogityyourself.com. Linen no longer has to be leather, there are great alternatives made from pineapple fibres, for example. By the way, it is the same with puppies as with children: many things can be borrowed from them until the little ones grow up, such as dog harnesses for example hundelig.de. And if you clear something, the local animal shelter will be happy.

legacies

One! Toon! pile! This is what the average dog leaves in life. You have to, sorry, let that melt in your mouth. Not good for everything that grows there either, because dog litter often contains phosphorous, nitrogen, and heavy metals that poison the soil. Another reason why the piles belong to the residual waste. So far there are no truly eco-friendly alternatives to the black plastic bag. Experts recommend so-called compost shovels (but then you have to carry them with you) or pick up piles of rubbish around. Well, not so cool now. Hello inventions, where are you?

Additional climate killer

As if the litter bag number wasn’t – well – nonsense enough: There is so much nitrogen in dog urine (about 2,000 liters per year!) that it can completely eliminate certain plant species. Well, you still have to pee. So far a positive thing:

green hack

Does brushing collect lumps from the substrate? however modusintarsia.com. The startup makes dog wool yarns and comfortable hats. no kidding!

Annual CO2 balance: 390 kg

Meow: cats

liner

Here, too, is sausage at the start – cat food accounts for 55 percent of a carbon dioxide paw footprint of about 110 kilograms per year. Unlike dogs, domestic tigers are not omnivores. Means: The Humane Society advises against feeding cats vegetarianism. So only foods certified organic remain, for example from Green Petfood (climate-neutral production) or from defu (in a bag, which provides aluminum). Please don’t feed them raw: Kleenen would need 80 percent muscle meat – that would lead to a very poor ecological balance.

furnishing

The same applies here: DIY is key. Thanks to YouTube, it’s easy to create scratch posts yourself (eg on the “Schlitzohr Pet Channel”). But the real climate killer is the cat’s flap. A poorly installed door can cause heat in the order of 50 kilograms of carbon dioxide to escape from the home each year. This corresponds to a short-haul flight from Hanover to Berlin! So if you have a cat flap, please put it downstairs or in the hallway – and close the other doors in the apartment well.

legacies

The average cat uses about 100 kilograms of cat litter per year. The raw material for gray crumb is often called bentonite, which is found in Germany but is often imported from North America. Easy Hack I: Just get the trash from Germany (check the packaging, find the manufacturer on google). Because the ecological heart is rewarded – an annual CO2 savings of over 400kg. And when flushing the toilet, everything goes to the remaining waste, because bentonite often contains aluminum. Easy Hack II: Buy vegetable waste made from wood, straw, sugar beet pulp and other renewable raw materials (eg “Cat’s Best” or “Dein Beste – Öko – Klumplitter” via dm.de).

Additional climate killer

Sorry, we have to say this: Cats with free access are the nightmare of many animal rights activists. On the one hand, this is due to the hunting instinct, and on the other hand, due to cat feces, which can spread toxoplasmosis. According to NABU, up to 200 million birds fall victim to claws or piles of our dear ones in Germany each year. But there is a small loophole:

green hack

At least from May to July, NABU asks to leave Miezi inside in the morning – that’s when there are plenty of little birds outside. Otherwise, the classic applies: cats that are played with a lot of catch.

CO2 balance per year: 3100 kg

Weeeeeeeure: Horses

liner

The monster rush among the animals comes at the end. ready? An adult horse drinks 60 liters of water. In the daytime! However, from an ecological point of view, it is almost insignificant if you look at what you eat, that is, 3650 kilograms per year. Unfortunately, this mass of horse food turns into a climate bomb killer, because ten kilograms of hay and hay per day causes 33 percent of the total carbon dioxide pollution in the year. On top of this comes daily concentrated nutrition. Owners can only save on CO2 credit if they do not add mineral feed. And after all, more and more manufacturers offer food no longer in plastic bags, but in cardboard boxes.

furnishing

Housing accounts for 32 percent of the carbon dioxide hoof print: the litter in the bin must be changed regularly, and the riding halls must be watered and lit. Experts estimate the power consumption of a horse at 860 kWh per year, which roughly corresponds to a family of one person. But there’s also good news: If you use local sawdust instead of straw, the environmental impact is reduced by about 30 percent. Horse blankets and riding apparel are often made from recycled PET, and leather saddles are second hand, and DeNiro makes fruit leather riding boots and a cork saddle from Rieser Sattel even taking home an innovation award in 2019. So something is really going on. keep it up!

legacies

Unfortunately, like cows, horses excrete climate-damaging methane. This means that horse exhaust emissions result in a CO2 load of 500 kg per year. That includes the 25kg of horse droppings that ends up in the hay each day, because feces and urine break down in the crate to form ammonia – a gas that fuels global warming.

Additional climate killer

After all, the horse itself can do absolutely nothing for one of the biggest factors, 24 percent of its ecological balance: a car trip to the stables, because riding facilities are often far away. The figures for the approximately 80,000 championship racers in this country are even trickier: they drive bigger cars so they can tow horse trailers and planes an average of 700 kilometers back and forth between championships per year.

green hack

There isn’t much to be said about it: Unfortunately, horses are sweet carbon dioxide emitters. The solution? Share the horse! Fortunately, many riders do this in Germany: for every 600,000 families that have their horses, 920 thousand take part in horseback riding. Another game changer: waste separation in the barn. And one last tip: no one goes into the barn without apples or carrots – just take snacks with you unpacked! Makes a difference between animals in quantities.

At BE GREEN, BRIGITTE’s sustainability magazine, you can read tips, tricks and exciting stories about a greener, better life.

Bridget

Leave a Comment