Thursday, 18 December 2008

Annual Goat Rant

Several friends and colleagues have contacted me over my silence on goats this year. I am sorry, I simply have not had the time. It is very depressing to see Oxfam and the rest still flogging goats to Africa. If the world is led to believe that increasing the goat (and other livestock) population is going to solve the problems of poverty in Africa, we truly are in a mess. If the aid agencies continue short term 'solutions' without carrying out Environmental Impact Assessments, it is not unreasonable to accuse them of potentially creating the problems they are trying to solve.

With habitat degradation continuing apace in Africa, any programme that suggests that increasing the numbers of livestock should be very seriously questioned. And that is without taking into account the social aspects. Giving camels and other livestock away in communities where these are not so much a part of a subsistence economy, but part of the wealth bartering system, has serious ramifications, and I cannot find any analysis of this by the agencies concerned.

And finally, what happens to the huge flocks of goats that the agencies claim are being produced by giving a poor African a single animal, when a drought come along?

If anyone can find some respected environmental conservationists who believe that increasing the numbers of goats in Africa is a way out of poverty, I would be very interested to see what they have published. But every single conservationist I have spoken to thinks it is a mistake. A big mistake.

1 comment:

  1. A month has gone by and no one has come up with a conservationist who thinks increasing the number of goats in Africa is a good thing. Perhaps Oxfam ought to take note. I am off to Kenya to look at a project to conserve the grasslands -- before the goats get at them.