Most of the
world is lactose intolerant...
production is frequently touted as one of
the greatest successes of animal gifting
However, 75% of the world is
lactose-intolerant, and 90% of
Asian and African populations
(toward whom dairy programs are
aggressively targeted) are lactose
As such, both small- and large-scale dairy
programs can negatively affect the health,
wellbeing, and productivity of people in
lactose intolerant populations.
More animals does
not mean less hunger...
Pro-meat biases mean that sustainable
plant-based options--that actually provide
better nutrition and more income--are often
For example, teff
is one of Ethiopia’s oldest grains. Teff
is packed with protein and calcium.
Plus, it is drought and heat tolerant, does
not need water irrigation, and has extremely
means more mouths to feed...
Many recipients of
animal gifting programs struggle to provide
even the most basic care to their animals.
Animals do not magically produce milk and meat
or just "live off the land" by grazing
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
do not just "live off the land"...
response to criticism that promoting animal
agriculture in regions already plagued by
desertification and drought is irresponsible,
many programs now have "zero-grazing"
Unfortunately, zero-grazing means
that confined animals must have
food and water actually brought to them. This
food and water can be in direct competition
with human consumption.
Zero-grazing is not only bad for the animals
who are confined, it is also bad for the
people (often times children) who must use
their time, labor and resources to bring food
and water to the animals. It is also a known
precursor to factory
require a great deal of water...
animals to be used as food requires up to 10
times more water than growing crops
for direct consumption.
Yet, animal gifting
programs promote water-intensive animal
even in areas identified as water-scarce.
This means that
already limited freshwater supplies are
diverted to animals for their hydration,
sanitation, and cultivation of extra forage to
of animal gifting programs...
The World Land Trust calls animal gifting...
environmentally unsound and economically
They conclude that “now that the grave
consequences of introducing large numbers of
goats and other domestic animals into fragile,
arid environments is well documented, WLT
considers it grossly irresponsible ... to
continue with these schemes ... as a means of
raising quick money for charities over the
programs are misleading...
The most prominent
feature of animal gift marketing is the use of
cute children hugging and kissing happy,
healthy animals (like this photo from Heifer
From glossy catalogs, donors choose which
animals to send as their "gift."
But in reality, donations do not buy
Donations may not purchase selected animals,
or even go to other programs more
generally. Quoting from Heifer
International’s website, “monies from any…
animal fund can be used where needed most.”
They make it sound nice, but in the end
animal-specific donations support all aspects
of their operations.
Vegetarians and vegans beware:
tree gift-donations can be used anywhere.
organizations have questionable
Concerns about the priorities and
appropriate use of donations apply to all animal
gifting programs, but Heifer International's $100+ million annual budget raises particular concerns.
Even worse, their fundraising
exceeds $22 million in a year (more
than $1 million in professional fundraiser
fees alone). Source: tax record
It is especially egregious that they use
donations to support lavish lifestyles, as
illustrated here by their
programs raise concerns with
GiveWell charity-rating organization deemed in
their evaluation of Heifer
the organization lacked sufficient
transparency and priority programming to
secure GiveWell recommendations or funding.
GiveWell expresses also these concerns about animal gifting
livestock-distribution programs, we feel it
is appropriate to ask the following
questions. We have not found a
livestock-distribution charity that has
published either evidence of impact... or
clear answers to these questions."
See the long
our Top 10 list to read the full
There are better
gift programs to feed people in need...
popular demand, we created our special Plants-4-Hunger gift-giving program to
provide a compassionate and highly-effective
We send 100% of your donation to four
hand-picked groups with
low-overheads and proven successes in
These hunger relief projects provide both
immediate assistance and long-term
community solutions that feed families without
We make it easy
to donate with one
tax-letter and personalized gift card.
Or you may choose to give directly to these
groups or choose from our Sustainable
Keys Global Grants list. The most
important thing is that your gift-donation
makes a real difference helping people without
for caring and happy holidays~