As mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to put up a couple of last minute gifting ideas for XMAS…as I was looking up ideas, my wife thought the “give a goat” scheme from Oxfam sounded pretty cool. So tonight I will take a look at some different animal gifting programs.

The Goats: Giving a goat to someone in the developing world provides a range of benefits. Villagers can either improve their own diets or generate income through goat sales. Giving a goat is tangible; you can almost imagine villagers smiling as they get their goats. I grew up around livestock while working (a couple) of summers on my grandfather’s farm, so, I connected to the goat idea. Interestingly, there is a good deal of controversy on the goat giving subject. I expected animal rights activists to be upset about the scheme, but the controversy goes deeper as some people question the full environmental impact of animal gifting plans. Many argue that as populations continue to swell, overgrazing will become a much bigger issue (soil erosion, etc.). There are several other points against animal giving. Debatepedia does a great job of chronicling the pros & cons so if you are interested in a deeper understanding of the topic, check out the link.

The Others + My Personal Favorite: Goats aren’t the only animals you can give…Oxfam also offers Camels. Practical Presents lists fish cages as a top gift. That’s right, fish cages…apparently they work pretty well in Bangladesh. Dogs Trust offers “Give Dogs a Cuddle”. You can give a gift of canine care by helping cover the expenses of the Dogs Trust’s carers – who are responsible for loving abandoned pooches, among other things. Dogs Trust also has a pretty nifty website providing a quick and easy way to join their Facebook group. Clarissa, the founder, has a blog. So, if the new Pres. elect does not get his wish to have a shelter dog in the White House, perhaps he can donate to Dogs Trust this year. Samaritan’s purse proposes the gift of snails…I am currently living in the French part of Switzerland and having eaten a few more snails than usual during the last few years, but still, I think I prefer giving a camel or a goat over giving a batch of snails. And, my personal animal giving favorite item of the year…a crocodile. It is my favorite item because it’s audacious and even pretty scary. OK, I admit it, I am seriously afraid of Crocs. Last year I encountered a “beware of the crocodiles” warning sign on a golf course in Mexico and it scared the crap out of me. Trust me, I did not aim for the water area when teeing off on that hole.

Thanks to James Asfa and his article in Intelligent giving for inspiring some of the animal choices above.