Anorak News | A Goat Is Not Just For Christmas

A Goat Is Not Just For Christmas

by | 30th, November 2006

THERE are many ways to make life better for Africans. You can wear a wristband, buy a Madonna CD or pray.

Or you can donate. As the saying goes: You give a man a goat, he will have a meal. If you teach him how to farm the goat, the goat will soon eat all the crops, decimate the landscape and encourage drought and desertification.

Readers may like to repeat this axiom to the chirpy charity mugger blocking their path as they go about their own business.

As John Burton, director of the World Land Trust, tells the Times, it is “madness” to send goats and chickens to areas with scant resources.

And he is less than pleased with the role of Oxfam and other charities. He says it is “cynical” of charities to ask us to give Africans a goat for Christmas.

“They seem to be doing this just to make money at Christmas. It’s a gimmick,” says he.

This in itself cannot be wrong. If a picture of a goat can appeal to a donor’s better nature, then why not use it? Surely a goat is better than no goat at all, even if it is just going to be stuffed and toasted on an open fire?

Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, thinks these schemes are “not a good ting”. “All farmed animals require proper nourishment, large quantities of water, shelter from extremes and veterinary care. Such resources are in critically short supply in much of Africa.”

Mr Tyler wrote an article in the Independent earlier in the week. He wrote of a dozen agencies “using your money to punt goats, chickens, sheep, camels, donkeys, pigs and cows to the world’s starving”. (Camels? Well, we suppose if you are hungry enough…)

Tyler said the prices vary. He told us: “£70 will get you a cow from Help The Aged, whereas Send A Cow demands £750 per animal. Farm Friends wants £30 for a goat, while World Vision will settle for £91 for a whole herd.”

How many goats constitute a herd is left unsaid, as is whether or not the Help The Aged’s Christmas gift bovine is organic or comes with a free PS3 and copy of Grand Theft Auto IV.

So if not an animal for Christmas, then what? Even if Oxfam says goats make “great gifts” and Christian Aid says the “goat just keeps giving”.

A looks at the Animal Aid website revels white chocolate (“AT LAST! WHITE VEGAN CHOCOLATE”), “CARDS 4 THE ANIMALS” and fudge.

This is what the Africans really want. And if you can throw in a bottle of crème de menthe, so much the better.

Merry Christmas, Africa. Cheers!

Posted: 30th, November 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink