Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Environmentally sustainable pets?

I'm teaching a course on Environmental Economics, and it always makes me wonder about sustainable issues...a pet dog is really a luxury afforded by our so-called developed nations, and many of the problems with dogs are a result of that switch to luxury life. Lez Graham (2010) in her book 'The Pet Gundog" talks about the issue:

 "...I was seeing [such an amount of gundogs] as a Canine Behavior Practitioner that were intelligent and eager to please and yet were totally dominating their owners and destroying the home - why? Basically, because they were bored out of their minds.
Here were thewe wonderful creatures that had been bred, generation after generation, to work alongside man, doing his bidding and flushing, pointing at and retrieving his lunch. Instead of doing work they were bred for they were being forced into sedentary lives, being screamed at for picking up the remote control and banished to the garden to amuse themselves. There's just no getting away from it, dogs over millenia have been bred to work;...that's a working dog you've got sharing your living room." (p.1)

Plus Claire being an English setter is a non-indigenous species here in Japan...Although since she's been neutered she's a non-breeding non-native species, which may be a little more acceptable. Rescuing dogs is maybe the luxurious tip of the iceberg in  addressing the biological destruction afforded by our consumer lifestyle. ...Think big, act small? least increasing the sum of real happiness in her life and ours is positive and life-sustaining in this local environment. A short term fix? Or karmic redemption? Or just Claire with a slice of family bliss, and play with me Mummy instead of ruminating.

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