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Ricky Gervais Sets Letterman Straight

Written by PETA | January 12, 2009
virginmedia / CC
Ricky Gervais

In case you needed another reason to love British funnyman Ricky Gervais, we’ve got one for you. Ricky was on the David Letterman show last week, and when Letterman asked him what he got for Christmas, he responded that the worst gift he received was “the gift of a goat.” He explained that a goat was donated to a family in Africa in his name. Letterman looked puzzled. Gervais continued:

Ricky: They’re 50 quid down, I’ve got nothing, the African family’s going, “Not another mouth to feed.” It’s ridiculous. There’s nothing in it for the goat. The goat wakes up in barren land going, “Where am I? A week ago I was gamboling through the Cotswolds in glades and then someone just kidnapped me, put me on a boat, took me to Africa.” It’s like Roots in reverse. I bet he didn’t want to go to Africa. I think the goat had no choice. …

Letterman: There may be another way to look at this, but I accept your point.

Ricky: I can’t see one.

Ricky is right! Donating animals is no gift for the animals who are “gifted” (they must forage in a dust bowl where they often can’t find water, and they end up tethered and are usually slaughtered!). And it can actually make things worse for the impoverished family that receives them. Luckily, there are great alternatives. Ricky’s friend could have donated to Food for Life or The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation instead, both of which support sustainable (and cruelty-free) programs to combat hunger. Take a leaf from Ricky’s book, and let the goats continue “gamboling through the Cotswolds in glades” or wherever they belong.

Written by Lianne Turner

Commenting is closed.
  • Peter Robson says:

    I told my family to donate a goat instead of gifts at Christmas ,what Ricky said has changed my mind ,I will now find another charity for them to donate to,thanks Ricky

  • sunnyday says:

    yeah Ive heard the more vegetarians/ vegans in the world the less expensive the food prices will be in developing countries . Vegetarianism and veganism combat global warming which is extra useful for the developing countries as they will be worse affected and the issue of cruelty is the main thing.

  • maureen says:

    Oh thank goodness it’s not just me that thinks these donate a goat et al. charities are hellish. Ricky is so right to say this on national TV and perhaps make people think twice before they do this sort of thing. Thank you Ricky a fellow Brit to be proud of at last!!

  • tracy o'neill says:

    well done for speaking out Ricky. I read your comment last year in Metro newspaper in UK regarding your concern for animal welfare and admired you for it then. Hopefully people will listen to you if they ignore us vegans!! would be awsome if you went vagan too.

  • indycar01 says:

    hey letterman read this VEGAN BY DESIGN see my messages at click search 2 times type in indycar01 CRANK EM UP!.. LETZ GO RACINN BOYZ!..

  • Gill says:

    Good for Ricky !!! Love Ricky he is the most funniest man on the earth…..brit humour at the best…. Love him even more for speaking out. Giving live animals does NOT help third world countries it is just another way of easing individuals conscience.

  • Lili Ochota says:

    People really do need educating that animals are not there for us to use and abuse. Most people just do not undrestand because using and killing animals is part of human culture. It’s great that people with a public life are starting to speak out and its one step at a time ……..yhis education process. Thank you Ricky!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kliff Ritz says:

    I was wearing an antifur pin today as I always do during winter. I got on the elevator in the building I work in and a woman from another company tried to test me if I ate meat or eggs. She had no chance. I was very proud. Can’t believe how angry people get especially women about my animal rights issues. I say If you wear fur and you’re a woman I’m not holding a door for you.

  • Libera says:

    Animal cruelty what is there to understand? If someone needs to explain why its wrong then something is wrong with you. Period.

  • Josefina says:

    I sort of agree with what you all are saying. However speaking from personal experience as a vegetarian who spent a summer in a remote village of Africa most of the people there have limited access to water for irrigation and farming on the arid land is very difficult throughout many parts of the year. I am a tolerant vegetarian I believe that if others treat their animals humanely they should be allowed to make their individual dietary choices. It saddened me to play with the goats in the village and to one day notice that one had gone missing but at the same time when you’re surrounded by starving people with limited access to food of any kind it’s hard to say they should just live on a limited diet of mangoes or sukuma a bitter kalelike thing that is the most prevalent veggie in most markets. Being a vegan or vegetarian in a first world country is an admirable choice in a third world country it’s a luxury.

  • Steve says:

    Uhauls….Send them Uhauls.

  • Peter Hood says:

    Mr. Gervais can be counted on to provide enlightened and engaging commentary across a myriad of issues on animal welfare. He can take a serious issue and translate it to the masses in an intelligent entertaining way.

  • Kass callaghan says:

    Great article. I had not heard of this organization that ships animals like goats to Africa. We here at Peta need more info on this one so that we can put the pressure on these organizations and enlighten them. I am sure they think they are doing the right thing but with a bit of education from Peta we could redirect their energies to better projects to serve those in need around the world.

  • L.J. Robinson says:

    Good for you Ricky Gervais! Butthe water purification etc. would be the better alternative. And for the goat too! I’ve witnessed first hand that mostly the animals are not fed that well and often treated cruelly. I’m sure that there are exceptions but one has to realize that these people have known nothing but hunger illnesses and deprivation so their priorities are quite different from ‘our’s’of the ‘have nations’. We have our own poverty ridden children too.Education and good water go a long way in helping these people. Welland just distribution of any help! Thank you.

  • BullyDawg says:

    Um many of these povertystricken people believe it or not are more likely to die from waterborne disease than starvation. You want to donate to a similar cause I would suggest one of the many charities that build waterfiltration and purifying systems in third world countries. That way you’re not “feeding a family” you’re providing drinking water to a whole village!

  • scott says:

    I’m pretty sure Gervais wasn’t saying that people should not eat goats. He wasn’t saying that eating meat was bad. He wasn’t saying that donating animals was bad. I didn’t see the whole interview just read the blurb here though.

  • Lowri Herbert says:

    I always loved Ricky Gervais because he is the funny man of the world I say. Another reason to love him more. If thats possible!

  • Jeanne says:

    There are better things you can give to the hungry in poor nations. You can buy a refugee family a cookstove and grain for $25. which I gave in my sister’s name for Xmas httpwww.thehungersite.comclickToGivehome.faces?siteId1 I can only imagine that if you are one of the few families with a goat you wouldn’t get much sleep. “I hold fleshfood to be unsuited to our species. We err in copying the lower animal world if we are superior to it.” Gandhi

  • lynda downie says:

    THANK YOU RICKY GERVAIS! I liked you on first sight and now I know why!

  • Meech! says:

    I keep getting booklets and donation kits from these “give a poor family some animals to eat” programs. I was so disgusted one section described the most important benefit of donating a clutch of rabbits as “the precious gift of protein”. Charming!! I sent their most recent donation envelope back with some Peta pamphlets!!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Before people get on Ricky’s case yeah we all know he’s not a vegetarian but wants to be. All he has to do is read John Robbins’ “The Food Revolution” and spend some quality time on Dr. John McDougall’s website and he’ll be one in no time. You can still get the two musthave classic books “McDougall’s Medicine” and “The McDougall Plan” as downloadable ebooks there $10 each.

  • roxanne says:

    Ricky Gervais is so enlighted he has Karma for every action has a reaction and people don’t see the connection. Even if you don’t torture the animal yourself you are funding the torture and there is a connection and if impacts society negatively.

  • Canaduck says:

    Yet another reason to love Ricky Gervais. I am so excited that he said something on national TV. Heifer International and their ilk are probably wellintentioned but they’re morons.