Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
goats at the Heifer International farm that I went to as a kid were
particularly feisty; I remember the struggle that my mother had to get them
into the milking pens, always wary of being kicked. Luckily, my mom's milking
gig was only once a week, but now that I've learned more about animal-donation programs,
I can only imagine how women in the drought-prone areas that Heifer shipped the
goats to must have tussled daily with the animals, in addition to the headache
of trying to provide them with enough food and water.
Animal-donation programs like those run by Heifer International
and Oxfam do not
provide a sustainable solution for global hunger. Grazing animals often cause topsoil
runoff and land degradation, which can contribute to drought, leading the environmental group World Land Trust
to call these programs "environmentally unsound and economically disastrous."
An exposé about
a program in India that gave cows to impoverished farmers noted that the "beneficiaries"
have a difficult time providing even the most basic care to the animals who have
been forced upon them. Having another mouth to feed often adds to a family's burden, and the animals often suffer from horrible
neglect, including malnutrition, dehydration, lack of veterinary care,
and lack of shelter from the burning midday sun or freezing nighttime
temperatures. On a recent trip to India, PETA
President Ingrid E. Newkirk saw the distinctive black-and-white Holsteins and
Holstein-crosses from America roaming the streets and eating plastic bags out
of trash cans, which will clog their intestines and kill them. Many donated
animals will end up in filthy, unregulated slaughterhouses and have their
throats cut with a dull knife.
your friends and family to avoid animal-donation programs and instead consider
supporting sustainable, animal-friendly organizations that work to end hunger,
such as The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, Food for Life Global,
and Feed My Starving
Children. Another way to aid poor
families is to donate to the PETA-supported program Animal Rahat,
which provides free veterinary care to working animals in India who are lame,
sick, or injured.
Written by PETA
What if you could help a truly worthy cause, which helps animals who have some of the worst lives on the planet? Well, snap, you can!
Forget Heifer International (I'll tell you why in a minute)—here's the wonderful Animal Rahat, which means "animal relief." Animal Rahat is based in Indian villages that produce bricks and sugar cane and was created (with PETA's help) to provide relief to the working bulls, donkeys, ponies, and horses the impoverished villagers rely on. Animal Rahat has greatly improved the lives of these animals by giving rest to the lame—something the owners could never afford by themselves in their hand-to-mouth existence. Animal Rahat also provides free medical relief to lame, sick, and injured animals. The owners of these animals are often too poor to afford even the most basic nutrients that the animals require to stay strong and healthy—let alone pay for veterinary services.
Animal Rahat has even created a retirement program in which owners are offered a small subsidy to "retire" older animals and allow them to live out the rest of their lives with their human families—rather than send them to hideously cruel slaughterhouses.
With the holidays upon us, kind folks are opening their checkbooks in the spirit of helping others. Please, let's not forget about those hard-pressed working animals who need a day's rest, a poultice for a wound, a bridle that doesn't eat into their faces, and more.
And let's not be fooled by organizations like Heifer International, which send animals to families abroad. This only perpetuates the cruelty to which animals raised for food are subjected—and they always end up slaughtered. And in addition to preventing daily cruelty, it's far more efficient to feed the hungry on a vegetarian diet, as the resources stretch a lot further. After all, it takes 6–16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat—and that's a lot of wasted food …
So, why not save a life this holiday season and help these working animals? You know you want to …
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.