Heifer ProjectHeifer International's Official Response to Questions
From The Heifer Project: Inhumanity in the Name of Humanity - An all-creatures.org Animal Issues Article Series


Communication received by All-Creatures.org

Activist's questions sent to Heifer International and their response - November 2014

Activist's email:

May I ask a few questions ?

If HEIFER sends a water buffalo to Indonesia, how is the live animaltransported?

And your site mentions eggs and milk. What happens after eggs and milk are no longer produced by the hens or the cows?

Pigs are also mentioned but pigs do not supply wool, or eggs, or the kindof milkwhich humans drink. Why are pigs shipped, instead or seeds, or plants to grow?

It seems that it would be much easier to send taro roots, or growingcorn, or plum trees than to ship live goats and oxen, and it would behealthful as well.

I hope you reply to me,


Heifer International response:

Dear Michele,

Thank you for contacting Heifer International.

In regards to your concern, Heifer does not ship animals between countries very often. Heifer purchases most of its animals locally (i.e., within the country of the project). This minimizes time spent dealing with import restrictions and also places money back into the local economy where the animals were purchased.

When Heifer does make a shipment, we abide by all the health regulations, and often exceed the official requirements. This allows us to get import permits. If we find that a requirement is totally inappropriate, we negotiate a change and sometimes involve the USDA in doing so, since it has worked out agreements with many countries governing the importation of livestock.

Actually, Heifer is not in the business of providing animals. Instead, we are involved in the community and people development business. Animals and training are the tools we use.

Animals that can no longer be used for production are put down in a humane manner. We make every effort to educate our staff in the countries where we work to promote the safe and humane handling of animals for all purposes.

Heifer also endeavors to explain and demonstrate that a humanely treated animal also makes economic sense. It grows better, becomes stronger, succumbs to disease less often, etc. And a healthy animal often means the difference between a good year or a year of starvation or serious hunger for a family. Education of Heifer project families is critical and a cornerstone of Heiferís work. However, success lies in small steps along the way, such as humane handling and routine health care.

With regard to routine veterinary care, staff veterinarians are employed in most Heifer country offices. Heifer also works with the local animal health officials. Heifer trains local, village level animal health workers, so that they can conduct basic vaccinations and care. Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs),together with local veterinarians, also manage the issues of animal death in project areas.

Project groups often develop animal insurance schemes (community managed livestock insurance system managed by project participants) to cover the death or loss of animals and some country programs follow a national animal insurance system.

Regarding your inquiry about pigs; the animals grow fast, eat vegetable waste, the family can utilize their manure for gardens, and theyproduce approximately 20 babies a year.

Thank you for your concerns; I hope this helps and please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Kind Regards,
DonorServices Representative
Heifer International

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