Daily News header

Live Animals Are Bad Charitable Gifts Say Experts

By

Every holiday season, glossy brochures from Heifer International arrive in US mailboxes tempting people to send the gift of live animals to people in poor countries. Photos show happy kids hugging happy animals and assure givers the animals will provide meat, milk, eggs and wool in perpetuity.

Wrong.

Live animals sent as charitable donations will usually end up suffering from the same poverty and lack of resources and medical care that afflict the poor people in the first place. It's the same reason veterinarians tell people not to give puppies for Christmas and chicks for Easter - they're high maintenance "gifts" that require time and money and often end up abused. No wonder Heifer International says it cannot reveal the fate of individual animals it sends...

Heifer

Visiting Recipients

A few years ago, two teachers who visited communities in Honduras that received Heifer animals saw the problems first hand. A "disease killed off all the chickens in a particular village," said one teacher in the Daily Citizen. Children were so worried about their animals being stolen they were sleeping with them, another teacher told the Reno Gazette Journal.

To dispel worries about what happens to the animals after they are shipped, a 2008 Heifer International newsletter addresses wellbeing questions head on. But the answers are unsatisfying. How do poor families feed the animals when they don't have food themselves? If they can't "grow enough feed" says the newsletter, "families are taught the best substitutes to buy locally." Buy?

What happens when animals get sick? Families can use "local natural substances that are known to provide specific medicinal benefit," says Heifer. Will they "buy" them too?

How are the animals protected from the elements and thieves? Families should build sheds to house the animals says Heifer, using locally available materials that they also "buy."

Ill Conceived Gifts

Using animals as financial commodities is so ill conceived, even Heifer International projects in the US have killed animals. The charity set up an aquaculture project in subsidized housing in Chicago to enable poor kids to sell fish to restaurants for money. In 1999 all the fish froze to death when the heat and power was cut to the building, some say deliberately. Two years later, all the fish died again - this time of heat when power went off during a storm, some leaping "out of their barrels trying to escape accumulating ammonia and rising temperatures," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Former Indian minister for social welfare and animal protection, Maneka Gandhi, is no fan of live animal donations. "These charities woo the ethical shopper with pictures of goats wearing Christmas hats and promises of helping the poor in developing countries," but within two years the communities "have an even poorer lifestyle," she says.

Philanthropist Philip Wollen, winner of the 2007 Australian of the Year (Victoria) award and the 2006 Australian Humanitarian Award agrees. "This so called 'aid program' is killing people, animals, and the planet. It is an obscenity dressed up in dollars and dross," he says of Heifer International. "Worse, it is entrenching more cruelty, more environmental carnage and more ill health in poor communities."

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health Read more stories by Martha Rosenberg.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Health News News

In this district where rural medical acces is still primitive, quacks and illegal medical stores have mushroomed in Mailu, Langsakham, Watijor, Howaipur and in areas adjacent to Howaipur rail station.
(CNS): It is not only about preventing new births of thalassemic infants; about chelation, about blood transfusion and about availability of services needed; but also about preventing complications related to Thalassaemia.
TB is a crisis of epidemic proportions. In 2013, TB killed 1.5 million people out of the estimated 9.0 million people who developed it.
The WHO reports that investigation of a recent surge in reported cases shows situation 'worse than expected' but Sierra Leone has reacted swiftly. Total Ebola cases have reached 17,942.
Flue vaccine production takes months AND sometimes the responsible agencies pick the wrong strain. The 2014 vaccine is not very useful and this looks to be a very bad year for the flu.
Globally, 370,000 million children are married every day. By 2020, an additional 142 million girls will be married before their 18th birthday.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

landing page ad

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site