WEF has not advocated the slaughter of millions of pets

8 September 2023
What was claimed

The WEF is now calling for millions of cats and dogs worldwide to be killed in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint that they produce as a result of eating meat.

Our verdict

False. The organisation has not advocated this.

A post on X (formerly known as Twitter), claims the World Economic Forum is “calling for millions of cats and dogs worldwide to be killed in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint that they produce as a result of eating meat”.

Similar claims have also appeared on Facebook.

There’s no evidence the World Economic Forum (WEF) has advocated such a policy. 

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What is the WEF?

The WEF is an international non-governmental organisation known for its annual conference in Davos attended by politicians and business people. The WEF says it “engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas” but doesn’t have the authority to change laws. The UK is not a ‘member’ of the WEF, though it is involved in some of its initiatives. 

We often fact check misleading content regarding the WEF and its founder Klaus Schwab. We’ve previously checked a similar false claim that the WEF was planning a future where “we won’t need animal charities because we’ll cease to have pets and eat meat”. We’ve also debunked claims that the organisation is advocating a social credit system and that it wants to ban natural conception.

The video being shared making the claim is from The People’s Voice—a US-based website linked to YourNewsWire which has been identified by other fact checkers as a frequent source of online misinformation. We have checked other posts on social media that originate from The People’s Voice previously.

Claims like these can spread quickly online and be difficult to contain. They can cause unnecessary fear about the future especially if people believe their pets might be harmed. 

The WEF has not said pets should be killed

A spokesperson for the WEF told AFP last year that the organisation had never made such a statement or taken such an initiative. We have asked them to confirm this is still the case, and will update this article if we receive a response.

In 2021, the WEF website published an article on the mental health benefits of pet ownership during the Covid-19 lockdowns. 

It also published an article in 2019 about a company in the UK making dog food from bugs. (We’ve previously seen false claims that the WEF has said it is “racist” to not want to eat bugs. This claim may be a distortion of several articles on their website advocating the inclusion of insect-based food in our diets for environmental reasons, but again, the organisation has no authority to force this on people.)

CNN and Bloomberg articles 

The video from The People’s Voice mentions a CNN article with the headline “Our pets are part of the climate problem. These tips can help you minimize their carbon pawprints”.

The man in the video says: “CNN, always at the forefront of pushing the globalist agenda, has begun urging its viewers to starve their pets to death in order to combat climate change”.

The CNN article doesn’t say this. It does say the “meat-heavy diet [of cats and dogs] is the biggest contributor to their carbon pawprints”. But then it goes on to say: “But don’t panic. Bidding farewell to your best friends is not the answer.”

Pim Martens, a professor of Sustainable Development at Maastricht University who researches the environmental impact of having pets added: “Our work does not mean we are ‘against’ keeping pets.”

The article explores meat-free alternatives to pet food, and at no point advocates starving pets to death.

The video also mentions a comment piece in Bloomberg, published in March 2022, that it claims was “urging pet owners to let their pets die to fight inflation”. 

The Bloomberg article did suggest people “rethink those costly pet medical needs” and said that some researchers didn’t recommend chemotherapy for pets.

The video then claims actor and screenwriter Dame Emma Thompson had told owners to eat their own pets. This appears to be a reference to a video of the Oscar-winner making a satirical comment as part of a mock weather report filmed outside of the BBC at a 2020 Extinction Rebellion demonstration.

During the speech, she warns about extreme climate trends and says: “Better wrap up warm, stockpile food and remember that there’s a surprising amount of protein in the average household pet.”

Image courtesy of Louis-Philippe Poitras

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