Rebuttal: Dogs not worse for environment than SUVs

Remember that silly junk science story a while back about how dog owners did more environmental damage than SUV drivers. Well, as the Daily Dachshund and Dog News suspected, it was barking mad. Clark Williams-Derry has crunched the numbers and has this to say:

It’s just the sort of counter-intuitive claim that gets lots of attention on the brave new internet era. So interesting! So science-y! So Twitter-able!

And yet, so false! Once you sniff around the numbers, it quickly becomes apparent that those researchers are barking up the wrong tree.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: I’m not a dog owner. Much to my kids’ dismay, I don’t even want a pet. Nor do I own an SUV. So, in theory, I…er…don’t have a dog in this fight. Still, this claim struck me as so wrong that it made the hair on my neck stand up. And I’d hate to have someone catch scent of this meme and conclude that buying an SUV is no big deal — “It’s not like I’m buying a dog or anything” — if the real numbers don’t support that conclusion. (That’s the risk of bad information: it can lead us to make choices that are in stark conflict with our values.)

Click through for all the numbers. There are a whole lot of them