End the practice of giving livestock to poor families abroad – or at least make sure where it is going it will help

For decades there have been schemes, where people from wealthy countries give someone a gift of a gift for those elsewhere. In most cases, the gift is a goat or cow to a family living in one of the poorest countries on earth.

while giving a goat or other livestock can seem like a good idea, it can often make the situation worse in the long run.

In theory, this is a lovely idea. The family is better off and well fed. In practice it seems that it can often do more harm than good.

In many of the areas that these livestock are sent, there is little water. These livestock need a lot of water, so their introduction can quickly change the water balance in the area, and push it towards desert.

Often the animal cannot be found enough food or drink, and veterinarian care is completely missing.

Much more useful is to support seed hubs, water irrigation systems and soil regeneration. While these do not produce the sweet picture, they are likely to benefit hundreds of people rather than one family, and often for decades to come.

That is not to say goat gifts are useless, in places with plenty of water, they can produce milk and meat, and can also have 6 kids a year which can be sold. A goat gift in the wrong place is worse than useless.

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