The Case against Animal Gifting
During the holiday gift-giving season, a popular choice for gift-donations are programs that send live farm animals as “gifts” to help alleviate hunger and poverty in low-income countries. A Well-Fed World examines the flaws in concept and practice with animal-gifting groups in general, and with Heifer International in particular (since they are the largest and most well-known) in their thought-provoking article covering every angle you can imagine, including: it causes more harm to the environment; the fact that many people are lactose-intollerant; the flawed economics of the program and the misleading advertising, etc. The article extensively quotes the opinion of many experts too. The full article is here: http://awellfedworld.org/no-animal-gifts
Here is a summary of some major reasons:
Increased dairy production is frequently touted as one of the greatest successes of animal gifting programs. However, 75% of the world is lactose-intolerant, and 90% of Asian and African populations (toward whom dairy programs are aggressively targeted) are lactose intolerant.
Heifer International is largely considered responsible for kick-off of industrialized dairy in Japan after World War II. Heifer International boasts that their projects produced 3.6 million gallons of milk in one year in Uganda and developed a national dairy program in Tanzania.
“In Ethiopia, over 40 percent of the population is considered hungry or starving, yet the country has 50 million cattle (one of the largest herds in the world), as well as almost 50 million sheep and goats, and 35 million chickens, unnecessarily consuming the food, land and water… [P]oorly managed cattle grazing has caused severe overgrazing, deforestation, and then subsequent erosion and eventual desertification. Much of their resource use must be focused on these cattle.
Raising animals for food requires up to 10 times more water than growing crops for direct consumption.
Yet, organizations such as Heifer International promote inherently water-intensive animal farming, even in areas identified as water-scarce.
The World Land Trust calls animal gifting programs “madness… environmentally unsound and economically disastrous…”
Finally, in 2012, Heifer International spent more than a million dollars on professional fundraising fees. That figure jumps to more than $22 million when printing, distribution, processing, and other fundraising-related costs are included.
Food for Life Global supports vegan food relief
When you support Food for Life Global or one of its many affiliates in over 60 countries you are supporting plant-based food relief. That means a hot meal made without the killing of any animals, freshly prepared in the morning by volunteer staff who then serve that meal to a real person a few hours later. On average, most Food for Life projects operate in such a way that they can feed as many as 3-6 people for every dollar they receive! The variation is because of different costing of resources and fuels from country to country.
Please consider becoming a member or gifting a membership of Food for Life Global this year so that we can continue our support of this noble projects around the world. Every year our office supports our affiliates through education, training and small grants. Your donations directly help with our work.