Jane Goodall, perhaps the most renowned animal activist in the world, has surprised her fans by telling them not to donate to animal gifting campaigns. Instead, she suggests the best vegan charity option is one that encourages plant-based eating. It's the first time Goodall has, asked her fans to reconsider which charities they donate to this holiday season.

Goodall recently released a video encouraging people to stop giving money to animal gifting campaigns – charities dedicated to paying for live farm animals to be given to low-income communities. While the initiatives are meant to help food insecurity and poverty, Goodall argues that animal gifting harms the communities, environment, and monetary structure.

Alongside other scientists and religious leaders, Goodall highlights how animal gifting programs can present detrimental side effects for communities facing hunger and economic struggles. The live farm animals take up unnecessary resources whereas other charities could help communities in a sustainable way.

“In the lead-up to Christmas, many people are feeling generous and want to help those less fortunate than themselves,” Goodall said in a video statement. “There are a number of organizations that have launched campaigns, suggesting that one way to help those suffering poverty and hunger is to gift them an animal, such as a heifer. As a result, farm animals are purchased in great numbers by generous donors."

“Unfortunately, this can result in unintended consequences. 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.”

Alongside Goodall, the Animal Save Moment and In Defence of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition (IVC) aims to expose the true dangers of live farm animal gifting. The two organizations published a statement that argues that the “true cost” of these charities and animal gifting programs leads to water contamination, air pollution, zoonotic diseases, forest fires, soil acidification, and more. Animal gifting works as a subsidiary of the greater animal agriculture industry.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 57 percent of all food production greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study published in Nature Food. The study examines sustainable meat farming as compared to plant-based foods, concluding that plant-based production and maintenance require half the resources of meat and dairy production.

Another top concern for animal gifting is the health risks associated with meat and dairy consumption. Goodalls and the organizations point out the dangers of meat and dairy in regard to personal health such as heart disease, underlining the complications when working with communities facing food insecurity and nutrition deficiency.

The organization has launched the Stop Animal Gifting campaign to curb the number of live farm animals given to communities currently facing poverty. The campaign will petition charities including World Vision, Cargill’s “Hatching Hope” project, Heifer Internation, and Oxfam to completely close animal donation, encouraging that the money should be used to promote better, healthier programs.

Goodall encourages people to reallocate their money to charities that support plant-based agriculture projects, giving communities a sustainable source of food and nutrition. The scientist believes that people should look for organizations dedicated to creating water irrigation systems, providing permaculture training and veganic farming techniques, planting trees, hosting soil health projects, and establishing community seed hubs.

“It will be ever so much better to help by supporting plant-based projects and sustainable irrigation methods, regenerative agriculture to improve the soil,” she said in the video.

“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.”

Goodall consistently speaks out against the global animal agriculture industry, pointing out the dangerously unsustainable side effects that it presents. Recently, the esteemed scientist narrated the Meat the Future documentary that focused on the future of cultured meat and the growing alternative meat industry.

The ethologist also joined the Veganury 2022 campaign, working alongside NYC mayor-elect  Eric Adams, chef Matthew Kenney, and more to promote plant-based eating during the month of January. Goodall will help the organization encourage people to try plant-based eating for the first month of the new year as an easy and inviting way to improve health and personally combat the climate crisis.
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