by Luke Warner
Categories: Causes, People
Tags: .

The girls were all from the lowest Dalit caste, but their education had filled them with ambition, self worth and hope for the future. Every child deserves that kind of start in life – and Oxfam Unwrapped gifts like desks and chairs, school equipment and even the school buildings themselves can provide this. And that’s why I am asking for us all to give these kinds of gifts this Christmas.

- Scarlett Johansson on the impact of the Oxfam Unwrapped campagin which she supports along with Minnie Driver and Ricky Gervais. The campaign encourages people to buy school books and other necessities, as well as animals, for people in the developing world in lieu of presents directly for their family and friends this holiday. Scarlett recently went to Uttar Pradesh in India to see the campaign in action.

  • Adri

    I’m all for educational aid, but I can’t support giving live animals without at least training and welfare follow-ups. I don’t want to contribute to tying up some poor goat on a short rope (common in Africa) for its whole life, or drilling a hold through a buffalo’s nose so he can be dragged around mercilessly without rest.

  • Adri

    Sorry, wanted to add something. My husband travels in India and was shaken by the amount of animal cruelty he witnessed every day. He is not even an animal activist and he still looks pale when he talks about all the pack animals he saw beaten and neglected by their owners. Unfortunately, in poor countries animal welfare is usually not a consideration (though there are many exceptions, of course).

  • Mad Mark

    These celebrities supporting sending animals to poor people around the world should go and see the truth behind this “gift”. These people need help in growing nutritional foods….plant crops. Animals require much food and care that could be used rather directly for the families survival. Heifer international and other groups that encourage animals as gifts, are doing so in the spirit of factory farming. People who are hungry must be encouraged to grow food that is sustainable…..food that is grown in crops, not cages or at the end of a rope.

  • ratking

    i ask myself in which attitude these hungry people are treating their gifted animals!!!???

  • deena

    I wonder about the living conditions of the animals too. “Worldvision” has a website where you can donate goats and chickens but where do they come from and how are they treated? I would want to know that before I donate.

  • Rob

    I wrote to Oxfam because I wasn’t happy with the idea of sending animals. Here is my letter and Oxfam’s response.

    Dear Oxfam, while I am generally in awe of all the great work you do, I must say that I am rather disappointed by your page on Gifts for Animal Lovers. I find it in extremely bad taste to advertise the giving of animals as in any way fluffy. You know that the vast majority of these animals will end up dead and eaten, so to show them in cute poses rather masks the reality of the situation. Additionally, it can take much more food, water and labour to care for these animals taking away from the precious resources of the areas to which they are sent. Much better in my opinion would be to give people the options of purchasing a gift of tools and seeds and training to grow healthy, sustainable fruit and vegetables. The vegan charities Hippo and VegFam are attempting to this, perhaps you could collaborate with them in some way?

    Dear Rob

    Thank you for taking the time to get in touch over Oxfam Unwrapped. It is really great to have your feedback on the gifts and how they have been advertised. I have passed your comments onto the Unwrapped Team for you to consider. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about what other gifts we have on offer and about Oxfam’s Livestock schemes.

    We do not by any means wish to portray the gifts in a fluffy way, the unwrapped marketing is to be looked upon as a fun and positive way by making a small gift you really are making a big difference to the community that it benefits. These gifts a part of a holistic approach to overcome poverty and suffering.

    In addition to our livestock gifts we do have numerous gifts as your suggest such as Bags of seeds, farming tools, plant an allotment, train a farmer, and organic farming. These can all be found on our website in the ‘Idea’s for Gardeners and Eco Warriors’ sections at http://www.oxfamunwrapped.co.uk

    I hope that I can reassure you that Oxfam takes a holistic approach to overcoming poverty and providing livestock is always part of a larger sustainable livelihoods programme. Before undertaking any project, we consider the impact on natural resources and evaluate the human, physical, financial, social and environmental assets that communities have (or lack). We always consult with local communities and our programme staff and partners, who have detailed knowledge of local grazing patterns and feeding practices.

    To guarantee the welfare of the animals we provide we always ensure that communities have a good understanding of how to care for them, that they are vaccinated against disease and there are trained veterinary workers available to them.

    Furthermore, Oxfam has created a series of animal welfare guidelines, in consultation with the RSPCA to ensure that livestock are well looked after while they are in the care of Oxfam staff. It is also very much in the interest of communities, who depend on their animals to survive, to treat them well and with respect. They are hugely valued as a precious asset to be cared for properly.

    I hope I have addressed your email, but please get in touch again if you have any further comments or concerns – you can call us on 0300 200 1300 or email us at shopping@oxfam.org.uk

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support, which is greatly appreciated by us and everyone we work with. I hope that you will feel able to continue helping Oxfam to overcome poverty and suffering around the world. Thank you again for making a difference.

    I would suggest further messages to Oxfam on this particular issue.

    • http://vegan--japan.blogspot.com/ herwin

      thanks Rob for writing and posting the response here.
      I dont want to contribute to animal cruelty so i never would contribute to Oxfam or similar programs.

    • Adri

      Notice they say that welfare is looked after while they are in Oxfam staff? Well that’s not what we’re asking.

      The argument that animals are valuable to their new owners and therefore will be taken care of is specious. So all those animals you see tied to a short rope or covered with sores or gashes all belong to people who don’t value having livestock?

      Sorry, but my husband and I have seen enough of conditions of animals in the developing world to demand that any donated animal be checked up on regularly by an aid worker and confiscated if found to be neglected or abused.

  • Christine

    I think it is shameful that Ecorazzi is promoting this moronic organization. “Gifting” animals to third-world countires so that they can be exploited and killed is not only extremely cruel, but it is also environmentally toxic as well as just plain stupid.

    These animals will suffer hideously so that we can teach people in developing countries to exploit animals, eat our horrible meat/dairy laden diet (putting them on their way to cancer, heart attack, stroke, diabetes etc.), and destroy the planet (did we forget that animal agriculture is the #1 cause of global warming?). The Ox-Fam shrills seem to neglect the fact that if these people don’t have enough food and water to feed themselves, how in the world are they going to feed these animals?

    OXFam = cruelty and stupidity