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An increasing number of companion animals in Hong Kong are now eating plant-based foods.
Hongkongers have become more concerned about the companion animal food industry and its carbon footprint – and as a result, have switched foods that have a bigger impact on the planet (including meat and dairy) for veggies and grains.
Marcus Turner, who has been vegan for 12 years, told news outlet South China Morning Post: “I figured, if I’m vegan because I don’t think it’s necessary for me to be consuming animal products, then it’s not necessary for [my companion animals] to be eating animal products.
“I started looking into it, and couldn’t see any reason why they couldn’t be vegan, too.”
Wilson Wong, a human companion who owns a vegan shop for animal food, adds: “People say dogs and cats can’t be vegan.
“So I read lots of articles and research to ensure I understand the nutrition, so that I can convince them and show them why I’m choosing vegan diets instead of following others.
“If this diet isn’t natural, then the food most owners give their pets isn’t natural. The farming conditions of the animals used to make that food isn’t natural.
“The arguments against [vegan companion animals] are all nonsense.”
President of the Hong Kong Veterinary Association Dr. Tom Mangan advises people to be cautious before deciding against animal-based diets for companion animals.
“The concern is that unbalanced diets will be fed to pets [sic] resulting in poor health and animal welfare issues,” he says.
“Dogs are omnivores and [will] happily eat meat and vegetables, whereas cats are obligate carnivores and require meat to supplement, in particular, their taurine and cobalamin [Vitamin B12] levels.”
It is a particularly contentious issue when it comes to cats – with some arguing that they are obligate carnivores.