Lukas Kiemer – Fighting Climate Change – An Unconventional Approach
Around 150 billion animals are killed every year in order to directly support our demands for food; a big part being destined for dog food production. Animal products are extremely high resource-costly food sources with beef production having the single greatest impact on the environment. Despite our overconsumption of meat, cats and dogs in the United States alone, consume approximately a third of the animal-derived energy.
Our planet is changing in a rate that has never been seen before, we humans caused species to go extinct so fast these days that we brought the sixth “mass-extinction” upon ourselves. We have to recognize the urgency of needed change as further emissions of greenhouse gases will increase the likelihood of irreversible damage for all life on earth.
With the opportunity to write a master thesis to graduate from veterinary university I had the freedom of choosing a topic myself. My first choice would have been in the field of surgery but knowing the newest climate data it wouldn’t have made much sense focusing solely on my professional skills while facing the sixth mass extinction and running towards catastrophic future prediction on how climate change will soon affect our all lives. I didn’t understand why I should focus on myself when humanity is facing one of its biggest threats. I thought about a way to combine my master thesis in the veterinary profession with something that could potentially be of importance to combat climate change, loss of biodiversity, species extinction, pollution and therefore the violation of animal and human rights. After countless hours of research I found the biggest impact would be possible in the field of nutrition. Through my research it became clear that students have almost no knowledge about the environmental impact of the food they consume and while most are aware of the climate crisis, yet they aren’t strict about pro-environmental behavior. In general, we seem to greatly underestimate the impact different sources of nutrition have on our planet, therefore, I set the aim of my study to proof my simple but highly effective idea to replace the most resource intensively ingredients from the dog’s diet with those that can be produced highly efficient and with a fraction of the resources, while maintaining or potentially increasing the health of dogs.
Plant-based alimentation for our dogs (and cats) could drastically reduce the pace towards irreversible damage to our planet due to climate change therefore our lives. Now the question left for me to proof was “IF” dogs and cats could be fed a plant based diet. And “IF” I could give my assumptive numbers reliable sources to proof my calculations were correct or close to correct. To make things easier I focused on one species, the dog.
The grant from The Pollination Project will help in financing blood tests on dogs that are already fed a vegan diet.