Ms Goodall’s hope is to urge charities to switch to plant-based alternatives instead of animals.

Photo: Goats being sold at Mdeka market near Salima, Malawi. Photograph: Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

20 December 2021 | Abigail Jane | One Green Planet

Jane Goodall, along with religious leaders, celebrities, and fellow scientists are urging world aid charities to end animal gifting.

These animal gifts often create even more of a burden for people who are in need, creating one more mouth to feed. They are also detrimental to the climate and further escalate world issues such as animal suffering and food instability.

The hope is to urge these charities to switch to plant-based alternatives instead of animals. By providing more long-lasting resources, families can continue to grow crops in times of poverty and famine.

Sending animals to those who are in need not only has devastating impacts on the environment, but it is also not very useful in the long term. it can create new health issues, more issues with hunger, and trauma if the animal is slaughtered.

Judy Carman, the co-founder of Circle of Compassion and the Interfaith Vegan Coalition, said in an email to One Green Planet, “Heifer International and other animal gifting charities are doing more harm than good. Impoverished people do not need more mouths to feed, vet bills, or more trips to carry water to animals.

“The harm to the animals who are transported in cruel ways to homes where they may not be able to care for them is also a serious issue. As we ponder how each one of us can bring more love to the world and how we can end the violence and suffering around us, let us give where our gifts will help and certainly do no harm.”

Jane Goodall is at the heart of this issue, urging these charities to stop gifting animals, saying in her video, “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 organizations 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 purchased in great numbers by generous donors. Unfortunately, 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.

“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.”