More money on dog food

November 19, 2016

There’s a quote from Leonard Ravenhill I see from time to time: “Today we spend more money on dog food than missions.”

In the US, the American Pet Products Association estimates we spend $23 billion on pet food. (On pets in total, for everything from vets to toys to food, we spent $60.5 billion in 2015).

Globally, we spend about $48 billion per year on missions (CSGC). I suspect the US, being the largest sender of missionaries, spends the greatest percentage of that amount.

So it doesn’t look to me like we actually spend more on pet food than on missions. But, consider further: people who own dogs have to regularly buy dog food. It’s like saying we spend more on bread or milk or eggs than on missions. It’s hard to compare a staple to what is typically at most a once-a-year or once-a-month contribution.

A parallel statement might be: Today Christians spend more money on their mortgage than on their tithe. It sounds horrible when we put it that way - but it would be expected. Tithe is biblically 10%, whereas most mortgages are about 20 to 30% or more.

UPDATE: A reader noted that people spend more than $350 on Halloween costumes for their pets This is comparable to–and used to exceed–what we spend on missions to the unreached (variously estimated at 1% of missions spending, or ~$480 million).