When I first started researching “sustainable pets” I came across a few articles that surprised me. I thought I would be stumbling into a world of “pro-neutering,” “pro-adoption,” advocacy, but instead I found a small uprising in 2014 over sustainable pet food. After the storm weathered, a non-profit called “Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition” was formed (with the mission to make the industry more sustainable). They include many big names like PetCo and Kong: http://petsustainability.org/
But, then I came across an article that I wasn’t really prepared to read. An article that advocates for limited populations, limited resource use, the end of rampant consumerism– all things that I agree with, until you mention that they’re about my dog. If you have a pet you love, you probably want to give them the world. And you probably want them treated like any human person would be. But does that make sense in a world that is increasingly becoming more crowded?
I would definitely recommend reading the full article for an interesting perspective: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/reduce-pets-sustainable-future-cats-dogs
HOWEVER. Even if pets may not be entirely sustainable into the future– there are still a lot of animals out there that need forever homes and deserve to live a happy life (they’re already here, and we should make the best of it). Organizations like the SPCA advocate for adoption over breeding, as there is a constant surplus of domestic animals that need care (approximately 8 million animals enter shelters every year according to the Shelter Pet Project). Adoption is the best way to find someone to love– and be loved. It is also the most sustainable means of getting a pet, because your pet is already part of the system.
But, be careful. If you have ever been to the SPCA, you will find yourself wanting to adopt every critter in the house (especially because you fall in love after a 15 minute walk). It’s also important to know if you are ready for the commitment.
And, if you do adopt, look into getting your pet spay/neutered in order to reduce the number of unwanted pets. The CASPCA offers discounted rates (and many other facilities do as well).