Every year, I get the catalog from Heifer International, asking for donations, selling products, and explaining their programs. I see the celebrity endorsements and read the success stories. But I just can't bring myself to support them, as much as I would like to do so.
This is what they do, per the Special 2007 Holiday Edition.
Heifer provides long-term solutions to hunger and poverty. Since 1944, Heifer International ha helped 8.5 million families or the equivalent of 45 million women, men, boys and girls in more than 125 countries through the gift of LIVESTOCK and training in environmentally sound agriculture. The impact of each initial gift is multiplied as recipients agree to "pass on the gifts" by giving one or more of their animal's offspring, or the equivalent to another in need.
Here are some examples of their successes....
**One family in Honduras receives a dairy cow from which they can drink the milk and sell the excess on the market for money.
**Goats received by an orphanage in Poland are used for milk and cheese.
**A Bolivian boy receives sheep whose wool is used for making ponchos and for selling at the market. The lambs are sold.
**Pigs are given to a South Pacific family to raised for food, fertilizer and sales at market.
**Angora rabbits in Nepal provide fur for cottage industries.
Every recipient receives training in animal husbandry and environmentally sound agriculture.
Where should an animal rights activist stand on this use of animals for the alleviation of poverty? Is there any alternative?
Photo by phil1983.