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Sustainability or Excuse to use Waste?

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  1. Gitta

    Well, I can see Dr. Buffington’s point: as a vet he benefits from pets’ ill health due to poor diet. I don’t think Dr. B. needs to eat 4D meat as our ancestors did. If he would just agree to live without a refrigerator he could test his hypothesis quite easily. If he was truly convicted he would not treat any pet that are not being fed according to his views. If he does, what does that say about his convictions? He would keep them alive so they can continue to eat up precious resources. What about the resources that go into developing technology and drugs for veterinary use for pets? If he has a clinic for pets – how big is the footprint of his clinic?

    To all those who eagerly, and perhaps not without merit, jump on the pet-footprint bandwagon: how much do you contribute to the enormous problem of electronic waste because you need to upgrade your cell phone and tablets as soon as a new model becomes available? How many rare metals do you gobble up in your quest for the latest gadget? What is the cost to the environment and humans because of it?

    Did you ever stop before you went to see a doctor if treating you, prolonging your life is in the best interest of the planet? As Dr. B. pointed out, ancestors didn’t live as long. They didn’t use up enormous resources to stay alive. Compare that to a Bangladeshi. If the earth cannot sustain such a large human population, then why do we keep advancing western medicine at literally all costs?

    How big is the footprint of one book? From start to finish? Electricity to run the PC, logging, turning trees into paper, ink, machines, fuel to ship the books and on and on.

    I’d be much more impressed if those critics would take a more critical look at their own footprint before they climb on that high horse.

  2. Mary Anne Kennard

    This is crazy! I am not going to feed my best friend dead & diseased anything! Why bother having a pet if you are not going to take care of it? You’re just poisoning the poor thing! I guess I am going to have to start cooking for my dogs, even though I hate cooking for myself! HaHa! I have been diligent in feeding my dogs the best food I can find, which is still questionable, but if they are all going to be garbage there aren’t any other choices. Just because they’re “dogs” doesn’t mean we have to care for them like they are. I hate it when people say ‘ oh it’s just a dog, etc’. It infuriates me especially when you consider the fact that animals are often better friends than people!

  3. Lynn Lassen

    What? feed a dog OR feed a child? Guess what … I feed my kids and my dogs the best I can which is as organic and raw as I can. Maybe some birth control would be in order! Spay and neuter! If the Western world wants to take on the responsibility for everyone else lets start there. What do you think?

  4. Pat P.

    There is no justification for feeding 4-D animals or toxic chemicals to any living creature, when the possibility of killing them is huge! The garbage that is in most pet foods IS killing them, even if not all do so upon immediate consumption. The vast amount of cases of cancer, UTI’s, CKD, and, probably, others, did not exist before the introduction of the so-called adequately nutritional foods by the pet food industry.
    Dr. Buffington–You need to switch professions–something where ethics and hypocrisy isn’t important–perhaps, a politician.
    As Susan mentioned, if wastes were shown not to be harmful to our pets, we might not be as concerned. Unfortunately, they are not. Even the FDA agrees that pets should not be fed 4-D animals, and they don’t really care about our pets, as evidenced by their lack of enforcement of this law.
    The incredible and criminal amount of waste of good human food by every restaurant, institution and individual, on a daily basis, could, probably, feed all of our pets for their lifetimes, in addition to a lot of homeless people! I am fairly certain that Dr. Buffington produces his share of that waste.
    The benefits that our pets provide with their companionship, including life-saving ones, cannot be overestimated!

  5. Eucritta

    This sort of anti-pet nonsense has been around for a very long time. Albert Payson Terhune wrote about it in the context of WWI; I first encountered it personally as a child in the 60s, from my parents’ radical left-wing friends, but also – sadly – in mainstream girl’s animal stories. We’ve all of us undoubtedly read cruder versions of it frequently in news websites’ comments sections, where any story on animal welfare or rights is apt to provoke the shame-and-blame brigade.

    It’s also never really been about animals. That’s just the excuse. Often, it’s used as a means to shut down discussions, by those to whom any mention of animal welfare or rights is an anathema. It’s also cover for those who enjoy causing distress. According to Terhune, during WWI it was an especially poisonous and pointless expression of jingoistic fanaticism. In those girl’s books, it was a means of reinforcing traditional morality and gender roles. Among my family’s and my acquaintance, it arose from a misguided belief that – in defense of the environment, or wildlife, or human health, or social justice – it’s better to do something ineffective and cruel than nothing at all.

    This time ’round … all that’s changed are the buzzwords.

    Personally, I say – if these people are genuinely concerned about ‘sustainability’ – a term which I consider inadequately defined – they’d be far better off supporting local farms and alternative energy than taking spiteful aim at other people’s pets.

  6. Ellie

    Historically pest have been fed “leftovers” and the less desirable cuts of meat but even in the somewhat harsher climate for pets pre-WWII most people did not feed domestic pets rotting discarded waste products. I believe the rats and other vermin were waiting in line for the trash.
    It is quite common in some of the ecology minded groups to promote vegetarian lifestyles in order to eliminate more of the livestock from the face of the earth that they feel are helping to mess up the atmosphere and causing climate change. Some of the more radical sects feel the human element needs to be drastically reduced as well. The earth being much more important than the people who live on it.
    It is getting quite frightening to read some of the callus ideas that are coming from these groups.

  7. Dr. Oscar Chavez

    Dr. Buffington – as a veterinarian you should be ashamed to support this argument. Ethical? Really?? This is desperate. Where does it end? Is veterinary medicine ethical? There are a lot of sick people in this world and the cost of a vet education is the same as an MD education. Should we close vet schools and mandate they become human schools? Are veterinary specialties (of which you are supposed to be one) ethical? That’s advanced education (and expense) in the field of medicine that does not directly benefit humans – so is that ethical? Or – should we just keep vet med in the context of food production animals? I mean – small animals and pet are just expensive luxuries right? Are pets ethical? Why stop there? Should MRI’s be used in vet med when they are needed in human med? Should medications be used in vet med, when sometimes there are human shortages? They’re just animals is what you are saying, right? Emotions?? This entire argument attempts to build a case on sustainability and plays on the environmental impact emotion. Well, where does that end? Pet food routinely uses low quality supplements and minerals in their pre-mix blends that contribute to environmental toxicity. Lead laced minerals, aflatoxins, contaminated feed are all allowed at levels that are higher (or less controlled) than what is allowed for the production of human food. What does that result in? Build up of lead and toxins in our livestock (meat), environment (livestock feces, pet feces, etc), and the poisoning of plant workers in production plants that have to handle this low quality crap. The reality is that raising the production of pet food to human standards IMPROVES the environmental impact and is more ethical to humans from the point of view of safe handling and production. Finally – if you’re going to go down this route, are you suggesting we close gourmet restaurants? Are they ethical? How about people that home cook? Should they sign a contract at the grocery store that assures the food will only be fed to a human? Should we have a government food distribution system? I think they have a name for these political ideas and they are not usually accepted in America. Sorry to be so blunt Dr. Buffington, but this is a horrible argument.

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