One of the most responsible things you can do as a new pet owner is to adopt a pet rather than buying from a breeder. Intentionally breeding more animals when there are thousands homeless is an inhumane and environmentally unsound idea. If you are looking for a large pet, especially a dog or cat, go to the human society and rescue an animal that needs love and attention. If, however, you are simply not a dog or cat person, there are other ways to be an Eco-friendly pet owner.
A great low impact pet with a small carbon footprint is a captive-bred bird, such as a cockatiel. Though not as cuddly soft as a kitten or as loyal as a dog, these pets can provide companionship and love while easing the mind of an environmentally conscious animal lover. Relative to a larger pet, a bird’s carbon footprint is as tiny as it’s own feet.
The burden of food
The food these fowls eat is fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds and grain. There is impact on the environment from processing and shipping the food, but it is exponentially less than the impact of producing and shipping a 50 pound bag of dog food. You can also subsidize your bird’s food by growing sunflower seeds in your garden, or by chopping and drying leftover fruits and vegetables.
The plastic planet
A bird can lead a very nearly plastic free life. Buy a stainless steel cage, rather than one constructed with plastics, and use real wood for perch posts. You can also re-purpose an old hand mirror of real glass in the cage rather than buying a new plastic one. Remember, a bird doesn’t need a plastic pork chop that squeaks, since she can make that sound herself.
The local news
Even if you don’t get the Sunday Times, chances are that you have a neighbor who does. Ask your neighbor if you can re-use the news. Yesterday’s newspaper makes a great liner for the bottom of a bird cage. Why buy liners when you can recycle.
A bird can be a great pet with a small carbon footprint. It can provide companionship and entertainment while keeping a low impact on the environment. A bird is a great pet choice for a truly green-friendly lifestyle. However, if you need the warmth and love that only a four-legged friend can offer, please rescue an animal from an animal shelter. It will love you all the more for it. And don’t forget to spay or neuter your new pet. Population control is the best way to lower pet impact on our planet.