Sunday, 4 December 2011

Festive Veganicity #7 - What not to do

Normally, I'm a great fan of gifts that give twice or more - charity shops can be little goldmines of just what you needed for the fussy person in your family, especially if you've had a bit of practice, are flexible about what to get and when and have been scoping the place out since August.

One increasingly popular form of charity gift, however, is sending animals to developing countries. That's a bad idea. Or a baaaaaaaaaaaa-d idea, if you ask a sheep. Andrew Tyler of Animal Aid lays out the main arguments here. TL:DR version: not good for the animals, and not as helpful as the glossy literature suggests for the people who receive them.

Now, if environmental factors play any part in your veganism/potential veganism or the arguments you make to others about veganism, then you'll be aware that farmed mammals are pretty resource-heavy in many circumstances - hill-grazing sheep being the only convincing exception that I've come across. This may not seem like much in parts of the world that, for the time being, have the necessary resources. These critters are going to countries that don't. Countries where, if anything can grow, it would likely be better to grow crops to feed direct to humans.* If next year's hot gift is a typhoid blanket, I'll know where the idea came from...

If you want an alternative, try HIPPO or VegFam.

*This isn't meant to be a damning critique of world hunger overall, just of this one small aspect of the problem. For a more detailed discussion see Vegan Freak by Bob and Jenna Torres.

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