The claim: The World Economic Forum recommends killing pets to reduce carbon emissions
A serial purveyor of misinformation is recycling a claim that there are people who think slaughtering pets is a good way to reduce carbon emissions.
“WEF (World Economic Forum) Wants To Slaughter Millions of Pet Cats and Dogs To Fight Climate Change,” reads the headline on a Dec. 9 article on News Punch. The article was shared more than 2,000 times on Facebook in 12 days, according to social media analytics tool CrowdTangle.
The article echoes a similar piece News Punch published on Nov. 26 saying unnamed “climate activists” recommended the same actions. USA TODAY debunked the earlier claim, and the new version is false as well.
There is no evidence the World Economic Forum recommends killing pets to reduce carbon emissions. USA TODAY could find no examples of the organization advocating for this policy. In fact, it has published pieces on how pets contribute to good mental health and has suggestions on how to reduce “carbon pawprints” on its website that do not include killing cats and dogs.
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World Economic Forum touts benefits of pets
The World Economic Forum has addressed the carbon “pawprint” of cats and dogs in news releases and articles, but USA TODAY found no statements suggesting that euthanizing them was the best way to do so.
The organization has highlighted the benefits of pets to mental health, particularly during the isolation that came with COVID-19 lockdowns. It also has highlighted, multiple times, the reduced carbon consumption that comes with switching pets to foods made from insects instead of meat.
The News Punch article claims the organization is actively pushing the killing of pets, but a search of the forum’s Twitter account also turned up nothing like that.
The News Punch article links to a Sept. 27 CNN piece on reducing the carbon footprint of pet ownership that makes no mention of killing animals. Instead, it suggests changes like shopping for sustainable products and modifying a pet’s diet.
“Bidding farewell to your best friends is not the answer,” the CNN article says.
The CNN article was also linked in News Punch’s earlier piece saying climate activists wanted to slaughter pets.
Pim Martens, a Maastricht University planetary health professor who is quoted in the CNN article, previously told USA TODAY that his research does not support the idea of killing pets.
“The fact that animals, including pets, have an ecological pawprint is never a reason to kill them,” he said.
News Punch has been debunked multiple times by USA TODAY for articles with no basis in fact.
Reuters and Lead Stories have also debunked the claim about the World Economic Forum.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the World Economic Forum recommends killing pets to reduce carbon emissions. 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 the organization has advocated killing pets.
Our fact-check sources:
- USA TODAY, Dec. 9, Fact check: False claim climate activists want to reduce carbon emissions by killing dogs
- CNN, Sept. 27, Our pets are part of the climate problem. These tips can help you minimize their carbon pawprints
- Pim Martens, Dec. 6, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- World Economic Forum, Oct. 26, 2021, This is how pets helped our mental health during lockdown
- World Economic Forum, Dec. 16, 2020, Maggots on the menu: the pet foods using insect protein to help the planet
- World Economic Forum, Jan. 15, 2019, This surprising innovation could cut your pet’s carbon pawprint
- World Economic Forum, accessed Dec. 21, Search of website for “cats,” “dogs” and “carbon”
- World Economic Forum, accessed Dec. 21, Search for forum’s tweets containing “pets” and “climate change”
- Reuters, Dec. 16, Fact Check-WEF did not issue guidance to slaughter millions of pets to curb climate change
- Lead Stories, Dec. 13, Fact Check: WEF Is NOT Calling For Slaughter Of Millions Of Pet Cats, Dogs To Fight Climate Change
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