ALAN Dougan (Letters, December 14) presents an interesting but rather imbalanced perspective on dog ownership and CO2. I will declare a vested interest at this point – we are owners of a cat and a dog, though I note Mr Dougan remains silent in this regard.

I take issue with much of what is stated – not least the outdated report and sweeping generalisations covering a multitude of holes in the argument made.

In respect of the car, the example used is an SUV, which is clearly not representative of the average car type in this country. Picking the worst example to make a point does Mr Dougan no favours, whilst reference to the term “lifetime" is open to much conjecture for car or pet. Using Statista’s 2020 average car’s CO2 emissions data (112.8g/km) and an average annual motoring distance of 12,850km (8,000 miles), the output is around 1,450kg CO2 per annum. In comparison, according to the average size dog is responsible for 770kg of CO2 per year, or a little over half of a car, and the average cat a mere 310kg of CO2 per year.

In the defence of the poor motorist (I am declaring another vested interest here) it should be highlighted that fuel efficiency and reduction in harmful emissions are in clear evidence in almost all manufacturers and models across the board – with diesel leading the way in this improvement. It is also true that whilst the often-maligned pet food industry is enjoying something of a boon in recent times, those manufacturers cater for the pet owners' demands for sustainable and traceable products, sourced with environmental awareness high on their agenda. I speak on behalf of my dog (I’m sure she would not mind) when I say pets will eat whatever offering is put in front of them within reason, and ours enjoy both wet and dry foods with high plant content, not only meat, which carries negative environmental connotations.

Whist the environmental campaigners and green bloggers might see merit in protesting pet ownership, what will fill the void were we to lose out on the physical benefits of dog walking, the reduced stress levels, the prevention of loneliness, empathetic development, learning about responsibility and kindness, meeting new (dog owning) friends, and – simply put – another good reason to get up and out in the morning? Like many things, it is a question of balance.

Grant Aitchison, Aberdeen.


I THINK that Alan Dougan has missed the main conclusion to be drawn from the study done by Messrs R and B Vale of Victoria University, Wellington, namely that some researchers appear to have too much time on their hands and need to get out and get a life.

While I don’t particularly disagree with him and certainly don’t approve of the use of firearms against messengers in the douce environs of Milngavie, the reality is that most if not all forms of human activity have a credit and debit balance when it comes to environmental impact. In an age when any hint of inconsistency leads to accusations of hypocrisy it would certainly be difficult for politicians to come down hard on anything. All any of us can hope to do is to examine our lifestyles and see what we can do to reduce their environmental impact. Eschewing pet ownership is no magic bullet. It’s complicated, folks.

Robin Irvine, Helensburgh.

* AFTER years of unmasking innumerable baddies, who would undoubtedly have got away with it if it hadn’t been for those pesky kids, it turns out that it’s Scooby Doo and his four-legged friends who are the real villains, with dogs contributing exponentially to global warming.

That really takes the dog biscuit.

Stuart Brennan, Glasgow.


I REFER to the news that there is to be a new musical based upon the "work-in" at UCS in 1971 ("Inspirational Clydeside ‘work-in' to take centre stage as a musical", The Herald, December 1414). Jimmy Reid’s address to the gathered workforce, including references to "no hooliganism, no vandalism, no bevvying", helped to make him renowned at home and abroad. Less well referred to generally, I believe, is the speech which he gave in Bute Hall following his election as Rector of the University of Glasgow in 1971, during which he observed: "A rat race is for rats.We’re not rats. We are human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement."

The New York Times thought so highly of the Rectorial speech that it reprinted it in its entirety.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I ENDORSE Michael Laggan's remarks on Scotland/Britain confusion (Letters, December 11). Whilst on a technical visit, with two English colleagues, to North Carolina, I met with similar sentiments.

On checking into the US factory, my colleagues were quickly registered. Not so for me.

When I gave the address "Ardeer, Scotland", I was met with a quizzical stare and a request to repeat, which I did. The clerk then nodded and said: "OK, I'll just put that down as England."

Now annoyed, I then posed her the question: "What part of Mexico is this?"

She got the message and remembered how to spell and write Scotland.

J Braddock, Prestwick.


MY thanks to Andy Mitchell and others for explaining the finer points of hidrosis (Letters, December 14). I guess the few horses I’ve ever backed were exceptions to the rule and also explains why my school reports were less than glowing.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

Read more: Face up to the truth: dogs are bad for the planet