PETA Asks LDS Church to Remove Animals From Charity Vending Machines

Donating Goats and Chickens to Developing Countries Adds to Overall Suffering—We’ve Seen It Firsthand

For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2017

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Salt Lake City

This morning, PETA sent a letter urging the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to remove animals from its “Light the World” initiative’s vending machines, which currently offer vouchers to donate goats or chickens to a family in a developing country.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—points out that such donations add another mouth to feed to communities already struggling with scarce resources and that eating eggs and dairy “products” has been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer and other health problems that shouldn’t be added to the hardships of struggling populations.

“The animals given in these donation programs face a hard life and then the knife, while to the recipients—already struggling to feed themselves—a hungry goat or chicken is a burden, not a blessing,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on the LDS Church to replace the animal option with one that supports hunger-relief charities that provide people with healthy, sustainable staples, fruit trees, and other vegan food sources.”

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PETA’s letter to Elder Brent H. Nielson, general authority seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, follows.

December 20, 2017

Elder Brent H. Nielson
General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dear Mr. Nielson,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including hundreds across Utah, to urge you not to include animals as charitable gifts among your Light the World initiative’s vending-machine options. We share your desire to improve the lives of the less fortunate and thank you for all that you do to combat world hunger. You may not know that most of the communities that receive these animals are already struggling with scarce resources, so adding another mouth to feed increases the suffering of both the recipients and the animals.

Many aid organizations, such as CARE, give 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 in these areas rather than reducing it. Researchers recognize that animal agriculture is an inefficient way to feed people, since crops are funneled through animals, reducing output, instead of being fed directly to humans who are hungry. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of meat. Feeding people vegan foods—which provide the human body with all necessary nutrients—is a far more efficient and productive way to meet the nutritional needs of a community.

In addition, eating meat causes human health problems by contributing to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Recent studies have suggested that dairy “products” are linked to an increased risk of developing prostate, testicular, ovarian, and breast cancers, and consuming 1.5 eggs a week increases one’s risk of developing colon cancer. In contrast, vegans have lower rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and several types of cancer than do meat-eaters.

Responsible hunger-relief charities know that the way to rescue people from malnourishment while benefiting their overall health is to encourage them to consume plant-derived foods. Many charities donate fruit trees and provide high-protein pulses and legumes. Countless aid organizations already help raise humans out of poverty without harming any animals. I hope you’ll choose to partner instead with animal-free, sustainable hunger-relief organizations, such as The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, which provides impoverished communities with fruit trees and other edible plants. Thank you for your consideration, and best wishes for a joyous and charitable Christmas.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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