A New Matching Market for Dog Buyers

Al Roth, the Nobel Prize winner and market design guru who's worked on everything from organ exchanges to school matching, posts a reader email about Wagaroo, a new matching market for dog buyers and responsible breeders. Christine Exley, an Economics grad student at Stanford, writes:

It is estimated that 23.5 million people plan to acquire a pet every year.  Of this, 1.5 million intend to buy their pet from a breeder, 5 million are committed to adopting their pet, and 17 million are undecided about the source for their new pet. At the same time, 3 million dogs and cats are killed every year in shelters because they cannot find a home. When you account for people acquiring dogs from shelters, rescue groups, the street (i.e., strays), friends, family members and purebred breeders, there are still over 6 million people acquiring dogs and cats from “other” sources. These other sources (as well as some of the listed sources) are likely puppy mills – places that mass-produce dogs for profit in horrid conditions.

Question of the Day: Are We Overlooking a Meat Source?

From the inbox:

Gentlemen:

I am a big fan -- one who especially appreciates your willingness to (perhaps enjoyment in?) exploring solutions that many would consider repugnant.  In that spirit, I would love to get your thoughts on a seemingly unconscionable idea that I recently became aware of.

Every year the U.S. euthanizes approximately 3 to 4 million companion animals (mostly dogs and cats).  To put it bluntly, what do you think about using these carcasses as a meat source? We expend enormous resources -- land, money, and energy --  in producing animal feed and ultimately meat.  Given this expense, as well as the world's need for protein sources, I'd love for you to weigh in on this rather repugnant idea.

Breeding Killers?

A few days before Christmas, a Houston woman placed her 3-month old girl in a baby swing and momentarily left the room. In her absence, one of the family's nine dogs - a 150-lb Rottweiler - broke through the back door of the house and attacked the infant. Out of precaution, the mother had barricaded the back door with a "washing machine and slab of marble." It was of no use. EMS reported that the girl's chest was covered with deep lacerations. She died an hour later.

A Very Interesting Paragraph From …

... today's Wall Street Journal:

Once upon a time, Americans got dogs for their sheep. Now they get sheep for their dogs. "I never dreamed it would go this far," says Ms. Foster, 56 years old.

Zach the Cat as an Example of Why Businesses Should Experiment More

We found our cat Zach at the beach as a tiny kitten, hungry and flea-ridden. We brought him, four kids in tow, to the anti-cruelty society (which we now refer to simply as the "cruelty society"), but they told us that he would almost certainly be put to death if we left him. Not quite ready to give that life lesson to the kids, we let him join our family, and he has been a model citizen ever since.

Until recently. After a year, he suddenly stopped using the litter box, preferring instead rugs and piles of our clothes. So Jeannette took him to the local vet, who advised the following plan of action:

Up-Market Animal Food

Susanne Freidberg is a professor of geography at Dartmouth and author of the forthcoming book “Fresh: A Perishable History.” She is writing some guest posts here about food; you can find her first one, and a brief Q&A with Freidberg, here. The International Boston Seafood Show may be one of the few trade shows where […]

FREAK Shots: Foie Splurge

My friend who reviews New York City cafes came across this at Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center: Photo: Ana Dane According to Bouchon’s website: “Some people wish for their pets to take as much pleasure in food as they themselves do.” But are excesses like this actually selling right now? A recent survey […]

Our Dog-Feces Dream Is Finally a Reality

Photo: 416style Yes, it sounds like a ridiculous idea, and you may have been among those who laughed, or worse, when we first proposed it: In order to keep a city’s streets clean of dog poop, require dog owners to submit DNA samples from their pets when they get licenses; then use that DNA database […]

The FREAK-est Links

Is “humanizing” our pets a result of loneliness? What’s the truth behind “shopping momentum”? (HT: Consumerist) Should the rich be spending more to help the economy? How do our brains decide what to store as memories?

The FREAK-est Links

Google directions soon to be available at gas pumps. Pet rental business thrives in New York. The economics of newspaper Web sites: do subscription models beat advertising models? What’s the all-time record high for oil prices?