We love our animals! There are nearly a million horses in the UK, and about a quarter of households have one or more dog. It is estimated globally that livestock ‘biomass’ is fifteen times higher than that of wild mammals. I am not going to talk about the carbon footprint of livestock or pets … I’m not going to talk about predation and disturbance to wildlife that can be caused when our pets roam free… instead I want to highlight some unexpected ways our domestic animals may impact wildlife and the environment, especially our beleaguered insect populations.
One way we express our love for our four legged friends is to dutifully pay vet bills and buy medicines: wormers, flea and louse treatments, antibiotics… Parasites cut productivity in livestock and treating animals with medicines may boost farmers’ yields and profit margin.