Originally uploaded by elmada.

It’s taken me a long while, but during my walk last Sunday, I encountered a second area in which the United States of America is, on average, better than Europe.

Dog Shit.

Yup, there is a marked difference between the United States and Europe on this count. In the United States the odds that the dog’s owner will pick up the shit is significantly greater than in Europe.

I realized this when 1 hour and 50 minutes into my two hour walk, I stepped in a pile of poo, thus spending a considerable amount of time searching for a stick and something to lean on while I started the scraping process.

I can only imagine what the good citizens of Weimar thought as they watched me lean on a poll at a bus stop and scrape the bottom of my shoe.

It reminded me of a sequence from the Economist in recent weeks. In the first week, the Economist had a lovely article detailing how San Francisco was starting a test program to take dog shit and turn it into methane gas that can be used as an energy source. If the program is successful, it will be expanded to include poo from other animals, such as house hold cats.

The following week there was a charming letter to the editor:

Where there’s muck

SIR – Norcal Waste could find an export market in eco-friendly Europe for its new process of making methane from dog droppings in San Francisco (“The year of the dog”, March 4th). For example, Paris, a leading producer of the stuff, wastefully obliges visitors to the city to carry it away stuck to their shoes.

Alan Baker

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