There’s Nothing Charitable About Cruelty to Animals
Many aid organisations, such as Christian Aid, Send a Cow, World Vision, Oxfam, Farm Friends and Heifer International, claim to work against poverty by donating live animals to families in developing countries. Most animals in these countries live or work in deplorable conditions with little sustenance, and this often adds to the overall suffering rather than reducing it.
Around the world, animals who are raised for food are exploited in a variety of ways. They are forced to undergo cruel procedures such as dehorning and castration without any painkillers. Many are left chained or penned in small spaces or suffer from lingering illnesses or injuries. And when they are no longer considered useful, these animals often face cruel, extremely crowded transport to slaughter and meet a gruesome end when their throats are cut with a blunt knife.
Animal agriculture is the least efficient way to feed the world’s hungry. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of meat. Feeding people plant-based foods instead of meat is a far more efficient and productive way to meet the nutritional needs of a community. The human body can obtain all necessary proteins, minerals and complex carbohydrates from sustainable crops of vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and fruits.
In addition to requiring more resources to produce less food, animal agriculture also has severe negative impacts on the environment. It is undisputed in the scientific community that raising animals for food produces enormous amounts of animal waste, which pollutes the air, soil, groundwater and surface water.
John Burton, director of the World Land Trust, called it “madness” to send goats, cows and chickens to areas where they will add to the problems of drought and desertification. According to him, “The goat campaign may be a pleasing gift and a short-term fix for milk and meat for a few individuals, but in the long term the quality of life for these people will slowly be reduced with devastating effect”.
As if these reasons weren’t enough to stop sending animals to developing countries, eating meat is also extremely harmful to human health. According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and several types of cancer than do meat-eaters. Medical reports constantly blame the “Westernisation” of diets (ie, more meat, eggs and dairy products and fewer whole grains, vegetables and beans) as the reason why nations such as China, India and Japan are grappling with skyrocketing rates of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
By promoting the consumption of meat, eggs and dairy foods, these aid organisations are putting people’s health at risk. Responsible hunger-relief charities know that the only way to rescue people from hunger while benefiting their overall health is to encourage people to consume vegetarian foods. There is no shortage of humane ways to help people in developing countries, and countless aid organisations already do help raise people out of poverty without harming a hair on an animal’s back.
What You Can Do
Support responsible hunger-relief charities, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Instead of supporting counterproductive animal-giving schemes, we urge you to spread the word about all-vegetarian hunger-relief charities, such as The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, which plants fruit-bearing trees for needy populations, and Food for Life Global, which provides freshly cooked vegetarian meals for the disadvantaged, the homeless and disaster victims, including those in war-affected regions.