Many human aid organisations, such as Christian Aid, Send a Cow, World Vision, Oxfam, Farm Friends, and Heifer International, claim to work against poverty by animal giving. People are encouraged to give a goat, cow, piglet, chickens, or other animal to poor families in developing countries. Most animals in these countries live or work in deplorable conditions with little sustenance, and this often adds to the overall suffering to both human and animal, rather than reducing it.
It does such damage that The World Land Trust has called animal gifting “Grossly irresponsible”.
There is a much better alternative to animal gifting, that really does reduce suffering, without causing any. Read on to find out why animal gifting is a bad idea all round, and see the cruelty free alternative.
Cruel Treatment And Conditions
Around the world, animals who are raised for food are exploited in a variety of ways. They are forced to undergo cruel procedures such as dehorning and castration without any pain relief. Many are left chained or penned in small spaces or suffer from lingering illnesses or injuries. And when they are no longer considered useful, these animals often face cruel, extremely crowded transport to slaughter and meet a gruesome end when their throats are hacked at with a blunt knife.
Many recipients of animal gifting programs struggle to provide even the most basic care to the animals they receive.
Adding To The Family’s Burden
Having another mouth to feed can significantly add to a family’s burden, and the animals frequently suffer from neglect, malnutrition, dehydration, lack of veterinary care, and lack of shelter from temperature extremes. Many will suffer and succumb to disease.
Animals Die During Stressful Transportation
With such programs as “Give A Goat” or “Send A Cow”, farm animals are shipped on long and stressful journeys overseas. Some do not make it there alive. Below is a frightened cow being hoisted off a ship in a net.
Using Precious Water Resources
Raising animals requires up to 10 times more water than growing crops for direct consumption, yet charities send animals to drought hit areas. In these places, there is not enough water for humans, let alone animals.
Instead of helping impoverished communities in the developing world flourish, animal gifting charities are using charity donations to spread disease, damage the environment, cause animal suffering, and wipe out vital water supplies.
World Land Trust: Animal Gifting “Grossly Irresponsible”
OpEd News reports that Former Indian minister for social welfare and animal protection, Maneka Gandhi,explains that when goats are allowed or forced by consequences to graze:
“Each goat eats all the grass and shrubbery on two hectares of land a year. A goat destroys the fertility of land and [the value of] any milk or dung it may give is very little compared to the havoc it wreaks……within two years, the people who get goats have an even poorer lifestyle.
There are village quarrels about community grazing; children are taken out of school to graze the goats; water becomes even scarcer……Two goats can reduce the amount of farmland available to local people and result in villages becoming deserted, while a cow will drink up to 90 litres of water every single day.
Some agricultural economists began pointing out flaws in the strategy during the 1970s, notably that many recipients of gift animals were unable to feed them to maturity, let alone able to feed and raise offspring.”
Most of the animals will suffer painful deaths due to disease, deprivation, starvation, or inhumane slaughter.
Image: Water is scarce and animals provide direct competition to humans for supplies. Source
Poor Use Of Land
In Ethiopia, less than 100 pounds of meat and a few gallons of milk are produced per acre of land used.
Teff, a nutritional grain, can be grown in those same areas by the same farmers at a yield of 2,000 to 3,000 pounds per acre. Teff has been shown to grow well in water-stressed areas and it is pest resistant. Yet animal gifting charities promote water intensive animal farming, even in these water-scarce areas.
A Cynical Ploy By Charities
“Iwas prepared to put this down to ignorance of the issues last year, but now it seems utterly cynical.They seem to be doing this just to make money at Christmas. It’s a gimmick.”
These charities do not even guarantee that 100% of your donation will go to what you have donated for. They use it in other areas, including overheads.
Image: The director of The Land Trust described charities who promoted animal gifting as a cynical money making scheme. Source
In addition, most people who are not used to milk have become lactose intolerant after weaning. This is because milk is very specifically created for infants of ones own species, not adults of any species. Suddenly being provided with milk can make people very ill with stomach pain, gas, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, and even vomiting. Consuming milk from other animals is also associated with allergies, asthma, and a host of autoimmune disorders.
A Better Alternative
An all round better alternative is Crop or Plant gifting. It uses a fraction of the water, provides better nutrition, and 100% of your donation will go to it. This is not the case in most animal gifting programs.
Image: Families who have lost farmed animals to drought and have swapped to growing crops using micro-irrigation, now have food security all year round and good nutrition, as well as access to healthcare and education as a result of a steady income. Source
Even More Reasons Animal Gifting Is Wrong
As if those reasons aren’t enough to convince you, Free From Harm gives a fuller explanation of these reasons, and many additional reasons. They are all important things you should know about animal gifting.
What You Can Do To Stop This Cruelty
To stop this cruelty, you should share this information with as many people as possible, including family and friends, so fewer people will support animal gifting programs. In addition, you can contact the charities who offer animal gifting to tell them your feelings about it. Comment on their social media pages, where others can see, with the reasons you are against animal gifting. If enough people do this, opposition to it should build, and the charities must listen in the end.