Some scientists, religious leaders, and celebrities are calling on global aid charities to end animal gifting especially during festive seasons.

According to them, animal gifting aggravates climate crisis, decreases food stability, threatens sustainable development, contributes to animal suffering, and causes health effects by promoting unhealthy western diets. 

Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall, said animal gifting programs hurt gift recipients by burdening them with more mouths to feed in areas where food and water are often scarce. 

Dr. Goodall is an internationally recognized ethologist and environmentalist who encourages understanding and action on behalf of the natural world.

The Jane Goodall Institute, UK, aims to improve the world for people, animals and the environment. It supports community conservation in Africa and grows the next generation of compassionate change makers through environmental youth programme such as 'Roots & Shoots'.

Dr. Goodall said gifting animals during events like Christmas will help those less fortunate as it results in unintended consequences. 

"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 indicated.

In a video statement copied to JoyNews' Mahmud Mohammed-Nurudeen, Dr Goodall said charities must develop plans to create a gift package that will appeal to the generosity of the less fortunate than themselves. 

The 'Stop Animal Gifting' campaign includes open letters from scientists and interfaith leaders, action alerts, a petition and email letters calling on development charities, such as Oxfam, World Vision, Heifer International and Cargill’s Hatching Hope project, Christian Aid, Save the Children, Plan Canada, Lutheran World Relief, Feed the Children, Tearfund and others to undertake carbon disclosure of their projects, stop animal gifting, and implement plant-based food system projects as a crucial step in addressing the escalating climate crisis.

The 'Animal Save Movement' and 'In Defense of Animals Interfaith Vegan Coalition' are also calling on charities to switch to plant-based aid programs that provide more food, and stability. 

They say plant-based projects can help alleviate poverty, reduce global hunger, and create sustainable practices for a healthy planet. 

Thousands of its supporters and concerned citizens have already joined the campaign this holiday season.  These organizations believe that, the true cost of sending a goat, cow, chicken, among other farmed animal is environmental degradation, soil acidification, water contamination, air pollution, and global deforestation.

The effects also include, forest fires, extreme weather, flooding, zoonotic disease outbreaks, health problems such as diabetes, more community slaughterhouses, and even childhood trauma from watching beloved animals get brutally slaughtered.

Communications Director for Animal Save Movement, Nicola Harris, says, “Thousands of concerned members of the public have emailed Oxfam, World Vision, Heifer International and Christian Aid asking them to stop animal gifting and implement plant-based projects. All the charities declined requests to meet with Animal Save Movement ahead of the campaign launch to discuss the roll out of plant-based projects. The damaging impact of these programs are huge, with Heifer International alone sending over 720,000 animals last year.”

Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, and Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, Marc Bekoff, states, “We must act on the science and act now. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem destruction."

He said the world needs far more plant-based meal plans to create lasting, and sustainable change for everyone. 

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