Monday, 22 October 2012

Politicizing Pet Waste in Urbanized Societies

This month's issue of Anthropology News puts the spotlight on the issue of waste, and the contributions include a commenatary by yours truly on pet waste. The accompanying photograph was taken by Ann Toohey, who works with me as a PhD student, and features her endearing dog, Lucy Blue. In 2011, a literature review that Ann led highlighted the negative impact of litter from dog waste as a deterrant of physical activity, notably in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and among older adults. Ann also contributed to another literature review, published in 2010, that drew attention to litter from dog waste as a negative influenceas a salient insight from qualitative research on park use.

Also this month, Critical Public Health included a terrific qualitative study focused squarely on the negative symbolism of litter from dog waste -- the first of its kind, to the best of my knowledge. The accompanying editorial contends -- entirely correctly -- that the concept of 'one health' (connections between the health of people, animals, and shared ecosystems) warrants deeper thought. In that light, I was delighted to receive an acceptance notice this week from Critical Public Health for a paper that treats the City of Calgary's Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw as a case study, inclusive of its provisions on litter from both dogs and cats, on public as well as private property.