Scientists caution against giving animals as gifts to developing countries

It’s the classic gift given by do-gooding family members at Christmas but Jane Goodall and other scientists have warned that people should think twice before giving a donation of a goat or heifer to a developing country.

Charity gifts, where the recipient is informed their present is an animal to help feed a family in an impoverished area, have been popular for decades.

하나, the famed scientist Jane Goodall has warned these presents can do more harm than good, as the large volume of animals given can place a great strain on local water supplies.

그녀가 말했다: “In the lead-up to Christmas, many people are feeling generous and want to help those less fortunate than themselves. There are a number of organisations that have launched campaigns, suggesting that one way to help those suffering poverty and hunger is to gift them an animal, such as a heifer.

“As a result, farm animals are bought in great numbers by generous donors. 안타깝게도, this can result in unintended consequences. The animals must be fed and they need a lot of water, and in so many places water is getting more and more scarce thanks to climate change. Veterinary care is often limited or totally lacking.”

대신, she recommends people fund community seed hubs and water irrigation systems, as well as investing in soil regeneration.

Goodall said: “It will be ever so much better to help by supporting plant-based projects and sustainable irrigation methods, regenerative agriculture to improve the soil. Well this means charities must develop plans to create a gift package that will appeal to the generosity of those who want to help those less fortunate than themselves. Thank you.”

Oxfam is one of the most popular charities to use the animal present initiative; it costs £12.50 to buy a goat.

Another £12.50 gift card offers the buyer the chance to support Oxfam in digging wells and installing water pumps, taps and innovative water meters for families facing drought, or living in areas far from the nearest water supply.

The charity says its project has changed the lives of thousands of families. “The Oxfam-funded goat distribution programme in Malawi started in 2005. Since then over 3,000 families have received a goat and their lives have begun to change for the better,” it says.

“It is a simple initiative that aims to ensure that people have enough food all year round, particularly during the dry season or hungry months – when personal maize harvests have run out and the earth is dry so nothing can grow without irrigation.

“A goat is a valuable asset to a vulnerable household; it breeds easily and can produce up to six kids a year. Offspring can be sold to help families cope or kept to produce manure, which will improve subsequent harvests. 이상적으로, within a year, each family will be able to choose to do both: selling goats to improve their homes or pay for school fees; and using manure to increase their maize and vegetable harvests so that they can produce a surplus to sell.”

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