In my Big Fat Greek Wedding, one of the main characters, Ian Miller, goes with his romantic interest (Toula) to visit her large, Greek family and share a meal. Ian is a vegetarian. When this is shared with Toula’s grandmother, she is wildly confused, and offers to make him lamb for dinner.
The pet industry acts similarly. When aiming to avoid feeding dogs beef and chicken, lamb is presented as a viable alternative. However, there are a host of environmental, ethical, and health problems that come with consuming lamb. There are a few reasons to leave lamb out of dog's diets:
Is lamb meat environmentally friendly?
Lamb produces 19.85kg of greenhouse gas emissions per 100g of protein! The only farmed animal doing more damage to the environment is beef. However on an individual level, the Environmental Working Group states that lamb has a carbon footprint that is "50% higher than beef" simply because the quantity of edible meat that is able to be sourced from one lamb is significantly less than that of one cow.
Is lamb good for my dog? Should I feed my dog lamb?
Due to farming practices, sheep can carry a wide varieties of diseases, many transferable to humans and other animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists 25 different diseases that lamb carry that are contagious.
Is lamb farming ethical?
Lambs are slaughtered at 6-8 months old after being taken from their mothers a few days after birth. Mother sheep are nurturing and bond-forming mammals that can recognize their babies by their calls. In the wild, sheep can live up to 12 years of age. Prior to slaughter, lambs have a painful existence. Farmers cut lamb’s tails off a few weeks after birth without anesthesia. Incredibly painful, it can lead to infection, chronic pain, and rectal prolapse.
Similar to cows, lambs are highly intelligent and have great memory. They can remember another sheep for up to 50 years! They also are able to read emotions and communicate with their vocal calls, and can also read facial expressions.
Instead of choosing lamb, consider a protein that is humanely raised, nourishing and healthy, as well as kind to the planet. We suggest cricket protein!