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World aid must move ‘toward compassionate, plant-based alternatives’

The animals must be fed and they need a lot of water, and in so many places water is getting more and more scarce thanks to climate change.

Image: © AFP/File DAMIEN MEYER
Image: © AFP/File DAMIEN MEYER

Dr. Jane Goodall is leading a consortium of scientists and supporters to urge world aid charities to stop the practice of animal gifting. The argument is that animal gifting programs hurt gift recipients by burdening them with more mouths to feed. This problem is particularly acute in areas where food and water are scarce.

There is a practice among aid organizations to send or to promote the sending of live farmed animals as “gifts” intended to reduce hunger and poverty for those in need living in low-income countries.

This charitable act leads to an increase in animal populations is seen as contributing to the climate crisis, decreasing food stability, undermining sustainable development, and contributing to animal suffering.

The campaign groups backing Goodall are ‘The Animal Save Movement’ and ‘In Defense of Animals’. The message is to request aid organizations to move to plant-based aid programs.

The advantages are summarized as providing more food, and also more stability through growing crops to eat directly instead of feeding them to animals. There is also an elevated risk to human health in the form of the spread zoonotic diseases, diabetes, and heart disease.

According to Goodall, in a video address: “The animals must be fed and they need a lot of water, and in so many places water is getting more and more scarce thanks to climate change. Veterinary care is often limited or totally lacking.”

Instead the renowned scientist argues it is better to support: “Plant-based projects and sustainable irrigation methods, regenerative agriculture to improve the soil. Well this means charities must develop plans to create a gift package that will appeal to the generosity of those who want to help those less fortunate than themselves.”

It is recommended instead that aid organizations:

  • Create community seed hubs.
  • Develop water irrigation systems.
  • Providing training in permaculture.
  • Undertake the reforesting of lands and regenerating soils.
  • Plant more trees to increase canopies to help improve the water cycle. In addition, planting fruit, nut and medicinal trees to alleviate world hunger, combat climate crisis, strengthen communities and improve the air, water and soil

These measures are designed to challenge a practice that Goodall and others see as environmentally unsound and economically disastrous.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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