Pigs as Presents: Why Giving Animals to People in Need Is Not a Good Idea

Please consider effective, humane alternatives to help combat hunger and help people in need. Choose compassion, respect and love for both — people and animals.

Striking at the Roots

With some big gift-giving holidays coming up, I’m posting this excerpt from Bleating Hearts, in which I expose the popular practice of giving animals as a way to alleviate hunger and poverty.

heiferThe concept sounds wonderful to many people: Help end hunger by providing a farmed animal to an impoverished family. Every November, just in time for the holidays, the mailboxes of compassionate people in developed nations become stuffed with glossy pleas from a seemingly endless procession of give-a-cow nonprofits, some endorsed by celebrities and all asking you to donate funds that will supply animals to the poor. For US$75, World Vision will send a needy family a goat, or a donation of US$30 will buy them five ducks. Harvest of Hope, meanwhile, offers a bull, plow, and seeds for a Ghanaian farmer for US$850, and US$45 will buy a pig whose “offspring are raised and sold for a…

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