Yesterday Pat and I happened upon "WOOFstock" - a festival held in downtown Toronto for dogs. There were big dogs, small dogs, dogs with dresses on, and a dog dressed up as a hot dog. There were booths selling pet food, leashes, luxury doggie beds, frozen dog snacks, dog costumes, and dog toys.
It was highly disturbing.
Now, I know cute (I have previously mentioned my addiction to cuteoverload.com), and I understand the comfort and companionship that many people derive from their pets, not to mention a bit of protection and encouragement to get a little exercise... but the pet industry is outrageous.
A UNDP (United Nations Development PProgram) report indicates that the global pet food market was worth $27.5 billion in 1998 and is projected to grow to $40b by 2010. They also state that this is enough money to fund basic social protection for all low income countries. A separate UNDP report suggests that the world's most heavily indebted poor coutries would need to spend $20 billion between them to meet the millenium goals - which include things like eradicating extreme hunger and mortality and reducing child mortality.
It all makes the money we as a society spend on our pets (and on other luxuries, such as cosmetics - the UNDP has made a variey of interesting comparisons in the past) just seems so frivolous.
No dog needs (or wants) to wear a costume.