I READ the article on the joys of dog ownership ("The real reason Scotland has gone barking mad for dogs", Herald Magazine, December 11). It is clear that people develop a great love for, and attachment to, the dogs which provide them with undivided loyalty in return for a home and the dog equivalent of three square meals a day.

There is unfortunately an extremely unpalatable fact associated with dog ownership. In 2009, R Vale and B Vale of Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, published calculations of the carbon footprint that comes from feeding dogs. In simple terms, the lifetime carbon footprint of a medium-sized dog is greater than the lifetime carbon footprint of an SUV car, including the car's manufacturing footprint. Unfortunately, cats are also an issue with the footprint of an average cat being equivalent to that of a small diesel car.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, between 2018 and 2020 inclusive, around 180,000 electric vehicles were registered in the UK. In 2020 alone the number of dogs registered in the UK increased by 3.5 million (Statistica.com) – the equivalent of more than 3.5m new diesel vehicle registrations.

Surely this issue needs to be addressed. Scientist Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington DC, said to ABC News: "Any claims on the Earth's resources, whether it's having pets or having children, we need to think about. It doesn't necessarily mean getting rid of your pet now. But when the pet dies, as they eventually do, you might want to think about whether you replace it or not," he said.

This is the unpalatable truth we need to face up to. It is clearly impossible for politicians to campaign for this as it would be political suicide. However, the environmental campaigners and organisations, the "less waste" and " how to be green" bloggers, must bring this subject to the fore so that people are aware of the impact of a future decision they may make, and to the extent such a decision may negate all the good they may be doing in other areas of the climate emergency.

Finally, please. Don't shoot the messenger.

Alan Dougan, Milngavie.


THE A82 high road proposal by Helensburgh and District Access Trust as penned by Convener John Urquhart ("Take the high road with A82 upgrade", Agenda, The Herald, December 13) is logically presented, has nothing but plus points, and leads me to despair that a shoreline alternative is even considered.

We already have evidence of the utter vandalism that a shoreline “upgrade” would create when viewing the cantilevered concrete solution to just one previously-tight bend at a section between I Vow island and Ardluie. An added advantage of the high road proposal would be the chance to remove that carbuncle.

Eddie Riach, Milngavie.


I WOULD like to see the source of Caroline Rance’s figures regarding numbers of people directly employed by the oil and gas industry and the creating of three green jobs for every oil and gas job ("Lessons we must learn from Shell’s Cambo exit", Agenda, The Herald, December 10).

Having worked at a senior offshore management level on several types of offshore drilling and production facilities for more than 25 years, my estimate of those employed at such facilities able to gain useful employment in the renewables sector is around 30%.

Steven Matthews, Kilsyth.


HOW curious are the things that provoke happy memories, even though the memory is of someone who died five years ago. Today I read of the Macroalgae farm near Oban ("Coastal communities set to reap economic boom thanks to ‘sexy seaweed’", The Herald, December 11) and got out my copy of the cookery book by a dear, but late, friend, Ros Burgess: Notes And Recipes From an Island Kitchen.

There are several recipes using seaweed, as Ros did in many of her dishes. Carragheen and dulse from the shore below her home on Skye were used – the Beany Stew and Chocolate Blancmange made a lovely meal as we sat and talked on Skye evenings. She roamed the rocks on the shore gathering her marine harvest. The photo of Ros on the order of service for her funeral five years ago shows a serene and beautiful lady – a joy to know.

I can also add that using a seaweed cream has given great relief for the eczema that has plagued me since this mask-wearing necessity started last year.

I wish much success to the seaweed farmers of Scotland.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


I AM moved to correct R Russell Smith (Letters, December 11). In polite society of which I am sure he is a member, horses sweat, gentlemen perspire and ladies glow.

Andy Mitchell, Prestwick.

* Thanks to the many other correspondents who made this point.


YOUR column on the exaggeration of language in The Herald ("Was this a storm in a teacup?", The Herald, December 13) is well illustrated in a recent report in our local paper describing the opening of a new superstore as involving "scenes of carnage”. The “carnage” was caused by the presence of over-enthusiastic first year pupils from the local school. Fortunately no deaths actually occurred.

Ian Lyell, Mauchline.


WHILST viewing the various TV sports channels on Saturday (December 11) I observed a certain goal being averted by the Wolves defender Conor Coady heading off the line in the Man City-Wolves match. The time was 1.45 pm. Minutes later, on switching channel to watch the 15-horse race at Cheltenham, I noted a runner named Coole Cody. The noble animal led from start to finish at the rewarding odds of 12/1. Who needs a crystal ball when the TV remote control can access such sporting life portents of chance?

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.