Fact check: False claim climate activists want to reduce carbon emissions by killing dogs




  • In Business
  • 2022-12-09 21:20:43Z
  • By USA TODAY
 

The claim: Climate activists vowed to slaughter millions of dogs to reduce carbon footprint

Scientists are continually researching ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the global effort to combat climate change. But some social media users claim activists are calling for extreme measures in order to reduce the carbon footprint of pets.

"Climate Activists Vow To Slaughter Million of Dogs To 'Reduce Carbon Pawprint,'" reads the headline of a Nov. 26 story by News Punch.

The story by News Punch was shared more than 300 times on Facebook, according to social media analytics tool CrowdTangle. Other versions of the claim have spread widely on Facebook and Instagram.

But the claim is false.

The News Punch article links to a CNN story titled, "Our pets are part of the climate problem. These tips can help you minimize their carbon pawprints." The CNN story does not, however, suggest that people should slaughter their pets to reduce their carbon footprint, or that climate activists are vowing to kill dogs in a bid to reduce emissions.

USA TODAY has previously debunked other misinformation spread by News Punch, a serial purveyor of fabricated news stories.

The social media users provided no evidence to substantiate their claims. News Punch did not respond to a request for comment.

No basis for claims of planned mass dog slaughter

Some of the tips included in the CNN article are to switch pet foods, cut out waste and adopt smaller breeds and species of pets. The article makes no mention of killing millions of dogs.

In fact, the author of the CNN article explicitly tells readers not to panic, and that "bidding farewell to your best friends is not the answer." The article also mentions that pets have a "measurable positive impact on our physical health and mental wellbeing."

Pim Martens, a professor of Planetary Health at Maastricht University, is quoted in the CNN article stating his research "does not mean we are against keeping pets."

Martens told USA TODAY that the claim was "fake."

"The fact that animals, including pets, have an ecological pawprint is never a reason to kill them," he said.

The CNN article references a 2017 study on the environmental impact of food consumption by dogs and cats that found feeding those pets creates about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide each year in the U.S. But there's nothing about killing pets in the study.

Other outlets have also reported on the study. None of these articles state climate activists are vowing to slaughter millions of dogs, and USA TODAY found no evidence or credible news reporting to suggest climate activists have called for such action.

Fact Check: Image altered to show CNN headline about climate change

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that climate activists vowed to slaughter millions of dogs to reduce their carbon footprint. The claim comes from the website News Punch, a known source of misinformation. The News Punch story provides no evidence for this claim, and USA TODAY found no evidence any climate activists have vowed to kill millions of dogs.

Our fact-check sources:

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim activists want to kill dogs to lower emissions

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