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Yes, but will my animal be used for "entertainment" purposes?

Wait! Let me explain the title.

See, in my attempt to expand my own blogosphere, I was looking at this entry.

One of the comments mentioned a charitable organization called heifer.org, which I'd never heard of.

To sum it up, heifer.org gives farm animals to poor starving countries around the world. And, their FAQ has lots of questions, like "Can I give animals to Heifer?" or "How can I track my gift animal?"

Now, I'm not trying to be difficult, but I'd just like to be certain that if I give them money for, say, giving a pair of goats to hungry peasants in France, that those goats won't then be used for "entertainment" purposes.

Another one of their FAQs answers "Many of the world's people, however, have little or no land and are often faced with steep terrain, rocky, acidic soil and scarce water..."

So, is the correct solution to give them animals? I mean, there aren't too many people in Siberia or the Yukon or the Gobi desert, are there? There's a reason for that, right? Maybe if you're living in an inhospitable land, the solution is not a new pair of goats but to move.

Now, of course, I realize that that's not possible in very many situations. And, giving a family a goat might help relieve their suffering for several years. However, I think it's also a bit of a band-aid. I haven't read the rest of heifer.org's material, but I certainly hope that they are thinking longer term. For instance, what are the recipients of this aid going to do if heifer.org goes away? And, isn't heifer.org making itself unnecessary the best solution of all? Hopefully heifer.org is working towards that goal.

Now, back to the main blog entry:

I spend a certain amount of money on the holidays every year. This year, as some of you already know, the plan is to give about half of that to some charities. Today, I'm feeling like maybe 75 percent of that is going to charity. There are folks in need, man.

I'm just feeling like this whole gift giving thing is like some kind of whack ass transaction.

Hmmmm... There certainly are folks in need. And, if I were sitting in a gas stations sans shoes, I'd love it if someone could come up and give me $40. I'm sure it would make the giver feel good as well.

However, what's the guy going to do when the $40 runs out? He's still going to be out on the street, perhaps the only difference being that this time he's wearing shoes. Maybe what he really needed was, say, some medication, or some rehabilitation, or the like.

There have no doubt been some form of street people in every culture. So, they aren't going to go away. The best you can do is reduce their number, and work for long-term change instead of just short-term solutions.

Miscellania · Mon, 12/16/2002 - 20:25 · Importance: 1

Tue, 08/16/2005 - 09:03
Liliana

The Heifer org. supported several projets in my country, Bolivia, from 1998 to 2004. The andean project provided to indigenous people: 300 ginnea pigs (about US$0,5 each), 44 alpacas (about US$10 each), and 72 llamas (about US$10 each). The over all cost of this was US$ 104.566,00! The Yucumo project provided one heifer for 72 families and 40 hair sheep for 20 families. Those people inhabits tropical rain forests! It cost US$301.595.00. I think that there better ways to invest money in my country and help people to relief poverty.

Sun, 12/07/2003 - 01:09
Alison

In agreement with Mary - your obviously off-hand comments about an organization you know nothing about - Heifer.org - were a waste of paper and probably did more harm than good. Shame on you.

Wed, 02/19/2003 - 10:21
Mary

If you had taken as much time to see how Heifer International works world wide with communities to increase incomes, improve nutrition, work toward environmentally sustainable agriculture, develop microenterprises and much more. I have seen it in operation in Chicago, Peru, Honduras, Kenya and Uganda.

Take a Heifer International Study Tour for an eye-opening, life changing vacation. It is awesome.

Mary