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  #1  
Old 11-08-2011, 05:42 PM
Kmarts Kmarts is offline
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Do charities that give animals (Heifer international, World Vision) do more harm than good

It's Christmas time and we charities around the world ramp up their advertising to hit us during our vulnerable state. My family and friends have routinely given to foundations such as Heifer International and World Vision which gives farm animals to needy nationals. Not many criticisms can be found with a simple google search other than vegan emissaries claiming cruelty to animals.
However one argument is that the animals take valuable and precious resources such as water and grain, not to mention land, and thus their end productions is a negative instead of a positive.
Besides that one argument do you feel these organizations are worth the time and money, or do they possibly create more issues than solve? Have any of you in travels run into these organizations providing the services and creating a better world as they portray in the Christmas brochure that arrived in the mail?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2011, 06:08 PM
chiroptera chiroptera is offline
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Well...I have given "animal shares" via Heifer International off and on over the last decade as Christmas gifts. It appears to be a wonderful and well-thought-out idea. I grew up largely as a farm kid, so I'm all for it.

Quote:
However one argument is that the animals take valuable and precious resources such as water and grain, not to mention land, and thus their end productions is a negative instead of a positive.
This sounds like an argument from PETA or some other Animal Rights organization, am I right?

This is wandering into IMHO territory, but you must realise that in many parts of the world using the milk, eggs and meat from animals can and often will make the difference between a family surviving, or a family dying of starvation - along with their animals if not tended to. Not every family in the world has the luxury of stopping by their local store for soy milk, Boca burgers, Ramen noodles or McDonalds dollar menu specials.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:20 PM
samclem samclem is online now
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Oop calls for opinions. Moved from General Questions to IMHO.

samclem, Moderator
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2011, 06:27 PM
Icarus Icarus is offline
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Originally Posted by Kmarts View Post
However one argument is that the animals take valuable and precious resources such as water and grain, not to mention land, and thus their end productions is a negative instead of a positive.
So, from the beginning of time, every herdsman or animal tender has made the wrong choice? Huh, imagine that.

More likely the water, grain, and land, are part of the investment that is measured against the value of the milk/eggs/fleece/offspring, and later the meat/hide/etc. I suspect it is generally a worthwhile return on investment.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:13 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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That depends: Can the humans eat a field full of dried grass? If so, then it's wasteful to feed a cow with it. But if they can't, how can they waste it? They weren't getting any use at all out of before, and now they're getting milk out of it.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:32 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is online now
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Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
.....This sounds like an argument from PETA or some other Animal Rights organization, am I right?

This is wandering into IMHO territory, but you must realise that in many parts of the world using the milk, eggs and meat from animals can and often will make the difference between a family surviving, or a family dying of starvation - along with their animals if not tended to. Not every family in the world has the luxury of stopping by their local store for soy milk, Boca burgers, Ramen noodles or McDonalds dollar menu specials.
Why, yes! A quick Google produced a bunch of PETA hits against Heifer & other organizations enslaving animals for the betterment of mere humans. I didn't open the links.

Search for yourself if you like. Not giving them the publicity.

Looks as though we've got a dishonest OP here. And it's their very first post!

Last edited by Bridget Burke; 11-08-2011 at 07:33 PM..
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:50 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Speaking as a vegetarian, in an "ideal" future world with regards to our treatment of animals, we could all eat happily off of foods that did not involve animals.

Speaking as a realistic human being, that's not going to happen. Probably ever. And certainly not in marginal areas where a goat or llama or cow can mean life or death for a family, and can help much more than some grain.

The OP is more material for the Pit or Great Debates than IMHO due to its wording, in my opinion.

I don't proselytize my eating habits. I cook meat for my husband and anyone else who likes. If buying animals for a starving family on the other side of the planet disturbs you so greatly, buy them something else useful - World Vision especially offers dozens of other giving options - or support another charity. Or give them a cow and donate an equal amount of money to a Western charity that supports animal welfare.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 11-08-2011 at 07:51 PM..
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:02 PM
Kmarts Kmarts is offline
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Originally Posted by Bridget Burke View Post
Why, yes! A quick Google produced a bunch of PETA hits against Heifer & other organizations enslaving animals for the betterment of mere humans. I didn't open the links.

Search for yourself if you like. Not giving them the publicity.

Looks as though we've got a dishonest OP here. And it's their very first post!
Dishonest? Nothing I stated was dishonest. I asked questions regarding arguments for and against giving animals as charity. Perhaps you misread or misunderstood my question. I'll take full blame for that, communicating can be challenging when the typed word is our only medium.

If you are pointing to my notice of "not many arguments can be found other than the vegan emissaries..." then I suggest you open the links you didn't open. They are all the same argument (I don't count multiple sites claiming the same argument as multiple arguments... I count them as 1 argument!)

Last edited by Kmarts; 11-08-2011 at 11:04 PM.. Reason: clarify
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  #9  
Old 11-08-2011, 11:11 PM
ProbablyProcrastinating ProbablyProcrastinating is offline
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This is my field of work. I personally think that organizations that give animals on subsidized credit are generally doing a lot of good.

It's extremely important not to make the perfect the enemy of the good, and to remember that unlike the people that live and work there (including local staff and the village committees with whom they work to determine what to request), we really don't have a clue what is going on in the local economy.

I think Heifer has a great message and a great program, personally. Is it my #1 charity of choice? Probably not, but it IS one of my favorite Christmas gifts. With sustainable agriculture (which many organizations also teach), these can provide vital income and nutrition to the poorest of the poor. It also does a great job of connecting the giver/taxpayer with the person who is using the goods and I think that's an important part of building a global community and making charities accountable.

I work in management and monitoring of aid and nonprofits.

And I agree--it's kind of a loaded question. To imagine that giving someone a sustainable source of income that can be paid forward, while maintaining the ability to generate a livelihood and contribute to vital nutrition could "do more harm than good" is laughable. There are surely environmental costs but they are nothing compared to the benefit of this family not starving. And in most cases, the animals are not slaughtered until they are already rather old. It's not economical. And then they are boiled in soups and pilafs for maximum nutrition from the bones, the organs, etc. This is not your McD's scenario here.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:24 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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I work in development, and am getting an MA in International Development...

Aid effectiveness and transparency is a major topic in this field. There are very smart people who spend their entire lives running rigorous studies trying to figure out what works and what doesn't. A few things make it complicated- it's a young field and we just haven't had a lot of time to figure things out, the donor-implementor-beneficiary dynamic is inherently problematic since the people who pay you are not the people you are providing services for, and there is a lot of room for the law of unintended consequences to wreak havoc.

That said, everything more organized than a mom'n'pop charity is going to have a monitoring and evaluation team working with a monitoring and evaluation plan that generally is up to current industry standards. It's not perfect, but they probably won't be running out and ruining people's lives unless something really unexpected happens. For the most part, aid organizations do have a positive impact and do work hard to maximize that positive impact. They aren't just throwing people a bunch of cows and taking off. That said, you will find infinite debate about any given organization. If you really want to know the exact details of an organization's philosophy, projects, and how they use money, you'd need to research itself. But I'd say most larger aid organizations do good.

World Vision does a TON of other work besides livestock. I don't know exactly how they work, but giving individual aid to families in enormously inefficient. I may be wrong, but I imagine most of the donated money goes into community development programs that can help transform the economic situation of the entire community rather than handing out bonuses to individuals. I'm sure their programs are relatively effective. I know people who work there, and they are smart people with specialized education and lots of experience implementing these kinds of programs.

I'm not super-familier with how Heifer Int. implements their projects, but they seem pretty wedded to the "giving individuals livestock" thing. There are some questions in that- it's certainly a marketable concept to donors...is that why they are sticking to it rather than individually assessing what communities need (which may be wells or schools and not livestock.) If so, does it really matter? After all, a cow and no well is still better than no cow and no well.

Anyway, what you've asked is a huge question that people literally get PhD's in. The short answer, IMHO, is yes, your money probably does good. Yes, there might be someplace out there where it can do any more good. If you care to do the research, you can probably find an organization with a philosophy you explicitly agree with and has published evaluations that impress you. But if you are just wanting to give $20.00 and get the warm fuzzies, I say go ahead and do it the easy way and have fun picturing the fuzzy chicks.
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  #11  
Old 11-09-2011, 05:24 AM
Namkcalb Namkcalb is offline
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
Anyway, what you've asked is a huge question that people literally get PhD's in. The short answer, IMHO, is yes, your money probably does good. Yes, there might be someplace out there where it can do any more good. If you care to do the research, you can probably find an organization with a philosophy you explicitly agree with and has published evaluations that impress you. But if you are just wanting to give $20.00 and get the warm fuzzies, I say go ahead and do it the easy way and have fun picturing the fuzzy chicks.
I think they prefer to be called African....
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:53 AM
shiftless shiftless is online now
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For something like Heifer International I always wonder where the livestock come from. These charities give the impression that they just pick up some goats and cows at the store and give them away but live creatures don't work that way. There aren't thousands of animals sitting in a warehouse somewhere. The reality is that our donations are supporting one or more livestock breeding programs somewhere, otherwise we are just bidding up the price of animals in the needy area, something that looks good on paper but is ultimately damaging to the very place we want to help. Anybody know where the animals come from?
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:11 AM
even sven even sven is offline
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Originally Posted by shiftless View Post
For something like Heifer International I always wonder where the livestock come from. These charities give the impression that they just pick up some goats and cows at the store and give them away but live creatures don't work that way. There aren't thousands of animals sitting in a warehouse somewhere. The reality is that our donations are supporting one or more livestock breeding programs somewhere, otherwise we are just bidding up the price of animals in the needy area, something that looks good on paper but is ultimately damaging to the very place we want to help. Anybody know where the animals come from?
I believe Heifer sources animals locally. I seriously doubt that they have the heft to significantly affect livestock price. Livestock markets tend to be pretty lively- even poor countries have some rich people who eat meat every day.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:26 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is online now
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
...Anyway, what you've asked is a huge question that people literally get PhD's in. The short answer, IMHO, is yes, your money probably does good. Yes, there might be someplace out there where it can do any more good. If you care to do the research, you can probably find an organization with a philosophy you explicitly agree with and has published evaluations that impress you. But if you are just wanting to give $20.00 and get the warm fuzzies, I say go ahead and do it the easy way and have fun picturing the fuzzy chicks.
Ah, but those fuzzy chicks are bound for lives as enslaved egg producers. Most of them will end their days in stewpots. And many of the young males will face early death--you only need so many cocks. PETA has had Heifer in its crosshairs for years.
Quote:
In September 2001 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called for an end to U.S. government contributions to Heifer International. Now that the events of September 11 are fading, PETA and other animal rights activists are returning to that campaign against one of the most innovative international charity’s around.
If you'd care to do some research, there's plenty of information on Heifer's site. I'll bet they've even got some of those multi-degreed folks on the payroll!

Quote:
The Heifer International Exchange Newsletter is Heifer's quarterly publication devoted to sustainable agriculture and appropriate technologies in developing areas. The Exchange is for small-scale farmers, agricultural planners and anyone interested in improving our world's food systems.
Thanks to the OP for prompting me to investigate!
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:19 PM
Mtgman Mtgman is offline
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Originally Posted by shiftless View Post
For something like Heifer International I always wonder where the livestock come from. These charities give the impression that they just pick up some goats and cows at the store and give them away but live creatures don't work that way. There aren't thousands of animals sitting in a warehouse somewhere. The reality is that our donations are supporting one or more livestock breeding programs somewhere, otherwise we are just bidding up the price of animals in the needy area, something that looks good on paper but is ultimately damaging to the very place we want to help. Anybody know where the animals come from?
When Heifer first started it did in fact have a ranch that it raised animals on and it shipped them to recipient families/villages. This practice is how they got their name. A heifer is a cow who has never been pregnant. Since it's the cows, and not bulls, that most people want, for milk and calves, they would give young female animals to families/communities (they don't work with individuals, only groups of families or entire villages at a time). They would raise the heifer on their ranch then just about time she was ready to breed, ship her off to a project. If they sent adult cows they'd need to be milked during the trip, which raises the cost significantly.

The ranch still exists and is now a community development and testing/training facility. They do things like test crop rotation processes, raised bed gardening, water management, irrigation techniques, forest management (they have a pine forest), and a bunch of other programs there. It's a test bed for appropriate technologies like treadle pumps, biogas, and composting toilets. It's also a huge training facility for ranch hands, vets, and other livestock/farming professionals. They have live-in students come from all over the country to work there. It's a working ranch with a couple extra features to improve their community outreach and training potential. They have incorporated a learning center and two global villages with replicas of various types of housing that you'd find in recipient's countries. They design and test educational and outreach programs to develop teamwork and communication skills. They host school and church groups to teach them about development issues and what life is like in a developing nation.

Anyway, back to the question of sourcing animals. as the program went on they determined they were doing two things, firstly they were spending a bunch of money shipping livestock. That's very expensive. Secondly the livestock they were shipping had been bred and lived in a different area/climate than the recipient lived in. Disease resistance, drought tolerance, all sorts of characteristics could end up mismatched. Add in the increasing reluctance of governments to allow foreign animals into their country, thank you mad cow disease, and it just became a better choice to source the animals locally.

I've spent time at the ranch in two of the last three summers, and am planning to go back this summer as well.

Enjoy,
Steven

On Preview:

PETA has actually prompted Heifer to make some changes. One of the outreach programs, called the Global Gateway challenges youth to an evening preparing meals as a family in a subsistence farming area would. A few years ago they would give each group a rabbit and the group would have to determine if they were willing to have the rabbit butchered so they could have meat with their evening meal. A ranch hand would do the butchering and the children (middle-school aged) would then be given the meat to cook along with some rice and vegetables for their evening meal. The tradeoffs of having a live rabbit in the future versus a meal with meat now were communicated to the kids and they were allowed to debate it and come up with a consensus. For American kids, raised on meat at every meal, the outcome was usually bad for the rabbit. PETA protested, and Heifer has stopped giving kids the option for the time being, but has not ruled out re-instating the program in the future.

Last edited by Mtgman; 11-09-2011 at 12:20 PM..
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:31 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is online now
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Originally Posted by Bridget Burke View Post
...

Looks as though we've got a dishonest OP here. And it's their very first post!
Dishonest??? I fail to see where you came up with that!

The OP mentions giving these in the past, and that s/he is now hearing that some places claim it's evil. What's dishonest about that?

In a subsistence-level situation, having an animal that can provide food in a number of ways can be a huge boon. Yeah, the animal requires feed. Would it be better to feed the animal human-edible food such as grain, than to eat the grain yourself? Maybe not, though it obviously changes the nutritional qualities of the grain by running it through the cow or chicken and consuming the results (milk, eggs, beef, chicken) and that may be beneficial.

Plus as others have noted, an animal can turn non-edible stuff (grass) into edible stuff. That's a net benefit.

Again, you have to weigh using that grassy meadow for cow feed, vs. using it to grow grain.

Anyway, while it may not be as clearcut a picture as one side or the other would like to paint it, helping a family buy a cow (or whatever) might well be a good thing.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:47 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is online now
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You can also donate seedlings and honeybees through Heifer International. And you can donate camels and water buffalo which are primarily used for their carrying/pulling power if you're worried about what happens to the males.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:53 PM
ZPG Zealot ZPG Zealot is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
That depends: Can the humans eat a field full of dried grass? If so, then it's wasteful to feed a cow with it. But if they can't, how can they waste it? They weren't getting any use at all out of before, and now they're getting milk out of it.
More than that, cattle dung is major source of fertilizer and fuel in some parts of the World. Also in the 3rd world animal food is often the waste products of agriculture. Smaller animals like chickens and pigs are especially useful to the very poor farmers because they can be feed basically garbage and produce useful meat and other products.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:59 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is online now
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Alas I may have been too hasty. Just because somebody joined today & for their very first post questioned groups on PETA's "list"--I let my suspicions run away with me. I'm pretty much in favor of kindness to animals & humane ranching--but I'm not a vegan. Of course, most vegans aren't as militant as PETA. (PETA says "no" to honey, by the way.)

But things have turned out fine! We've learned more about Heifer. Beyond the very simple examination of the group's website that anybody could have done, Mtgman has supplied some hands'-on information about what seems a pretty reputable group.

Last edited by Bridget Burke; 11-09-2011 at 01:00 PM..
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:01 PM
ProbablyProcrastinating ProbablyProcrastinating is offline
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"giving individual aid to families in enormously inefficient"

I don't think Heifer does that. They work through existing community development programs to do what is essentially rotating credit. The vast majority of their so-called "overheads" are training and monitoring.

I did look into it because my family asked me to. I've also seen them work on the ground. Where they worked, residents did not need agro-credit because they had Heifer: we asked them to choose our scheme or Heifer and they chose Heifer. I think that's saying something. We weren't perfect but I did the monitoring and we were certainly having an effect. Generally people went from recipients of charity to givers of charity under our scheme. If they chose Heifer over us, I think that indicates it had at least that impact.

Steven, good for you for volunteering. That sounds awesome!
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:02 PM
ProbablyProcrastinating ProbablyProcrastinating is offline
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Oh, and World Vision... I'm more suspicious of the evangelistic talk but in the field they want to be taken as impartially as the secular NGOs. But I can't fault their implementation. They're pretty average as far as that goes.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:39 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Originally Posted by Mtgman View Post

PETA has actually prompted Heifer to make some changes. The tradeoffs of having a live rabbit in the future versus a meal with meat now were communicated to the kids and they were allowed to debate it and come up with a consensus. For American kids, raised on meat at every meal, the outcome was usually bad for the rabbit. PETA protested, and Heifer has stopped giving kids the option for the time being, but has not ruled out re-instating the program in the future.
The problem with bunnies that *in general* unless it is a specific breed [angora] which is bred for the fur to be used in spinning there is no nonfood use of a bunny other than to sit there wrinkling its nose and posing for LOL pictures. The scat is not really shat out in large enough amounts to be good for fertilizer. They are quite excellent at turning veggie trimmings and grasses into meat and other bunnies however. [To get the good fur, an angora bunny need to have cold temperatures, much like an angora goat]

PETA is a first world problem group. If you need to have a food source that can susbsist on nonagricultural land, you need something that can process cellulose for the nutritional content, which translates to bunnies, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, camelids, bovines and equines. If you live in a very remote area with minimal horizontal surface, you need small critters that can live on trimmings and leftovers, that leaves bunnies and guinea pigs. As I pointed out, they do not have much use other than as a meat animal.

Last edited by aruvqan; 11-09-2011 at 01:42 PM..
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:09 PM
Mtgman Mtgman is offline
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Originally Posted by ProbablyProcrastinating View Post
"giving individual aid to families in enormously inefficient"

I don't think Heifer does that. They work through existing community development programs to do what is essentially rotating credit. The vast majority of their so-called "overheads" are training and monitoring.
Heifer doesn't work with individuals, they work with communities. They may go in and give fifteen or twenty animals to a village, along with several dozen flocks of chicks, etc. But they don't do that at first. There is a long lead up to the day the animals arrive. During this time they train the recipients on animal husbandry, get them familiar with animal first aid, sustainable practices like zero grazing and things like bookkeeping to be able to bring their livestock to market eventually. It doesn't accomplish program goals to have the families cheated out of their livestock or waste their income when it starts coming in because they don't know how to handle money. Whenever possible they build joint programs with other organizations who are also doing development. Since Heifer doesn't do things like build housing or drill wells, but both are likely to enable a family to sustain livestock, they try to coordinate with groups like Habitat for Humanity whenever possible. There are huge advantages to this kind of partnership, such as being able to share translators, supply lines, and communications. It may be easier to piggyback a shipment of educational materials on a shipment of building materials than to hire a truck to deliver just the educational materials to a remote village.

This is a very large part of the Heifer program. They have instructors teach people how to build grazing pens, how to manage and store fodder, etc. and then once they've demonstrated competency and, more importantly, invested sweat equity into building the pens and such, the animals are delivered. It does no one any good to give livestock away willy-nilly because the cow could wander off onto someone else's lands and then be shot and eaten by the owner of those lands which would lead to not only a waste of the intended purpose of the gift, but also breed resentment in the community.

Heifer also engages with environmental and animal experts to ensure they don't give animals which are inappropriate for the setting. Maybe a cow is a bad choice for a particular village because they don't have adequate grazing or water supplies. Maybe a more drought tolerant animal, like a camel, would be a better choice. Then the have to select among the varieties of camels, find a good supplier who isn't going to sell them a diseased camel with behavioral issues, and arrange for safe delivery. The previous Heifer projects are a gold mine for this sort of stuff because not only can they have confidence in the quality of the livestock, but the money is going to a community they've worked with and know they'll put it to good use. Then they tailor the educational program to the animal they'll be giving the recipients. Making cheese from camel milk is different than from cow milk. How long does it keep? How can you keep it safe from insects? How do you treat camel dung to turn it into fertilizer? How to turn manure into fuel, how to build a harness and have a camel pull a plow. How to handle breeding, caring for baby camels, etc.

Most other development organizations have similar depth to their programs. You may think "Habitat for Humanity" = "builds houses" "Doctors Without Borders" = "traveling clinics" or "Heifer International" = "gives away cows" but there's a lot more to these organizations than meets the casual eye.

Heifer in particular has become a family project for my family. I've been to the ranch twice, once with each of my elder daughters. The year I skipped was when my wife went, also with my daughters. This year is the first year I'm taking my son. Next year he'll probably go with his mom. We are applying some of the lessons at home too, with our raised bed gardening and composting at home as well as more simple things like using a clothesline instead of a dryer. It's just how we roll.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan
there is no nonfood use of a bunny other than to sit there wrinkling its nose and posing for LOL pictures
Heifer classifies animals into the "7 M's" Meat, milk, muscle, money, motivation, materials and manure. Rabbits are a five "M" creature. Meat, money, motivation, materials, and manure. It's not the good quality manure like camel or cow, but it's enough to help fertilize small gardens. It's also not good quality fur/hide, like leather from a cow, but it has some value on the market if properly tanned.

But if you took slaughtering the rabbit out of the equation, they'd drop to a 2 "M" animal, which is not nearly as helpful. And once they've gotten out of the "bunny" stage and into the "rabbit" stage they're really kind of mean and will claw and bite people. I can't condone using them as makeup test subjects or treating them inhumanely if you're raising them as food, but as assistance to a developing community, eating rabbit is completely justifiable IMHO. I've told the people at Heifer that I'd support bringing the rabbit back into the program.

Enjoy,
Steven

Last edited by Mtgman; 11-09-2011 at 02:12 PM..
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:49 PM
Jeep's Phoenix Jeep's Phoenix is offline
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I keep getting info packets and catalogs for Heifer International...it actually sounds good. Finding out that PETA is opposed to them makes it even more likely that I will donate!
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:25 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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Thanks Steven for the explanation. I wasn't sure how Heifer works, and I know that a lot of people feel deceived when they learn that their money is pooled towards community based projects rather than a specific photogenic family- a feeling of deception that might be justified, but ultimately overlooks the best way to make positive change.

Rabbits are delicious. Would PETA rather people be eating bush meat (which is often endangered)? That is often what the alternative is.

Last edited by even sven; 11-09-2011 at 07:26 PM..
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:52 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Originally Posted by Jeep's Phoenix View Post
I keep getting info packets and catalogs for Heifer International...it actually sounds good. Finding out that PETA is opposed to them makes it even more likely that I will donate!
No shit ... though I already did, I donated to a whole village package on behalf of my Mom for Christmas last year, I was way more flush with money than I am this year =(
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
Thanks Steven for the explanation. I wasn't sure how Heifer works, and I know that a lot of people feel deceived when they learn that their money is pooled towards community based projects rather than a specific photogenic family- a feeling of deception that might be justified, but ultimately overlooks the best way to make positive change.

Rabbits are delicious. Would PETA rather people be eating bush meat (which is often endangered)? That is often what the alternative is.
I agree that bunny is tasty, I love it and am sad it is expensive when I can find it in the freezer section. I do not want to get into trying to add another critter to the farm at this point in time. Maybe when we move out to California and have worked the cows into the collection. We would have the room to add an adequate bunny romping area.

My argument against donating to the save the children type of charities is mainly because the parents in question really should not be having children if they can not support the children, and why should I support the resulting children when the leader of their country is hoarding all the money and not supporting his population. I will fully admit to being a neutral population growth person. If the small villages out in the country side could support the families instead of them heading off to live in a shanty town in the city it would benefit the whole country - they just need a legal agricultural product, a source of clean water and perhaps a methane producing digester that also provides processed fertilizer for the fields in addition to a small electrical generator to power communications and perhaps some refrigeration.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:10 AM
Gabby Green Gabby Green is offline
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Just doing a little internet research and came across this thread. I could not let this comment get by without registering for this forum to say that it's completely false.

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Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Speaking as a vegetarian, in an "ideal" future world with regards to our treatment of animals, we could all eat happily off of foods that did not involve animals.
Agriculture without the help of grazing animals' fertilizer is one that is heavily dependent on fossil fuel. That does not sound happy to me.

Not to mention, your definition of animal involvement is limited to: cows, pigs, chicken, etc. Don't forget that agriculture, harvesting plants, involves many thousands, if not millions of animals. First you have all of the natural species that are displaced by seizing the land, and their respective food chains. Then you have all of the insects and small mammals that feed off of the crops that have to be eradicated as to preserve the crops for us. Then you have all of the microorganisms that live in the top soil, which take a severe beating when you have grain production on such a large scale - say perhaps, a scale large enough to feed 7 billion people on the planet.

To suggest that we can eat without involving animals is to say that we can isolate ourselves in a bubble from nature, and the fundamental cycle of life and death that nature has set up for planet Earth. That's completely absurd.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:48 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabby Green View Post
Just doing a little internet research and came across this thread. I could not let this comment get by without registering for this forum to say that it's completely false.
It was an offhand comment made over a year ago, so yeah, thanks for the not-timely important contribution. I do donate to Heifer now and then, by the way, and you totally cut out my very next statement which utterly invalidated what I said, so thanks for taking it out of its proper context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabby Green View Post
Not to mention, your definition of animal involvement is limited to: cows, pigs, chicken, etc. Don't forget that agriculture, harvesting plants, involves many thousands, if not millions of animals. First you have all of the natural species that are displaced by seizing the land, and their respective food chains. Then you have all of the insects and small mammals that feed off of the crops that have to be eradicated as to preserve the crops for us. Then you have all of the microorganisms that live in the top soil, which take a severe beating when you have grain production on such a large scale - say perhaps, a scale large enough to feed 7 billion people on the planet.

To suggest that we can eat without involving animals is to say that we can isolate ourselves in a bubble from nature, and the fundamental cycle of life and death that nature has set up for planet Earth. That's completely absurd.
Yeah, because all vegetarians are totally extremist Jainists. Or not. No really, everything we humans do cause other species to be affected?! Oh my god, stop the presses. You had a point with fossil fuels but then rode that point right into the ground.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:58 AM
Gabby Green Gabby Green is offline
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Yes, my response was late. I acknowledge that. As for the rest of your post, yeah, you sound like a reasonable person and I think we'd agree on most things.

The whole point was not to call you or your opinions out personally, but the sentiment that I hear echoing throughout the vegetarian/vegan community is that eliminating farm animals from the agriculture equation is a great way to feed the entire world. It's so, so wrong. I have a hard time seeing it and not saying something about it. It's not an idea that should be supported or pushed any further.

I'm sorry you took my response as a personal jab. Don't worry, I hold nothing against you. I know that vegetarians/vegans come from a good place and have their hearts pinned to good intentions. I, myself, was a vegetarian for 10 years!
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