New York — As pet owners from New York to London sit down to Christmas lunch this year, the family dog might be in for a surprise — a vegan meal. As more people cut meat from their diets, one third of US pet owners said they would be interested in feeding their animal a plant-based diet, according to a 2019 study by researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada.

With this rising interest, major brands such as Mars Petcare, as well as smaller, independent companies, are developing meat-free pet food that is high in protein but plant-based in response to growing concern over the environmental impact of farming. Cats and dogs account for up to 30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the US, according to a 2017 study by University of California Los Angeles — and if they had their own country would rank fifth globally on meat consumption...

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