The Heifer Project: Not BS

Paul D. wrote us in about an unsolicited catalog he got from The Heifer Project, a charity that purports to send cows, chickens and goats to the third world. He’s skeptical:

    The catalog features photos of celebrities joyfully holding aloft livestock, imploring you to purchase one for charity. Celebrities include (among others) Ed Asner, Patricia Heaton, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Jimmy Carter, Susan Sarandon, and the mom from Malcolm In the Middle. (I mildly suspect Photoshoppage, but what the hell do I know?)

    At first I swore it was an elaborate joke. I mean, whiskeytangofoxtrot? WHO GIVES LIVESTOCK AS A GIFT OR AS A CHARITABLE DONATION? Over the Internet? ON A CREDIT CARD?!?

The Heifer Project is a very real and admirable charity. Internet humorist and newspaper columnist James Lileksregularly donates money sent to his website to them.

Believe it or not, there are many places in the world where the gift of livestock is actually a much better charitable gift than a bag of food… the idea is that they can use this livestock to be self-sufficient. Cows can be milked. Chickens lay eggs. All these animals can be breeded. Livestock is self-replicating currency to many people in the world. People who donate to the Heifer Project do so because they are eager to help the less fortunate become more self-sufficient. Not only that, but people who get a gift from the Heifer Project agree to share some of the offspring with neighbors in need, bringing them into the charity as well.

Yes, it seems a tad absurd to us Yanks. But it’s a great charity with living, breathing results.

The Heifer Project [Official Site]