Get the Goat This Year

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This season, the globally aware and trend conscious want to get the goat under their Christmas tree. Charitable organizations have started selling the four-legged critters and other “virtual gifts” in order to address demands for ethical gifts and increase fundraising.

Oxfam is one such organization and has launched a website to sell charitable gifts such as medicines for an entire village, training for a teacher, or even the installation of “lovely loos” to prevent the spread of cholera and typhoid. But goats and chickens have been the best sellers.

While ethical gift giving may be gaining in popularity, some critics say that these karma boosting stocking stuffers may only work as gimmicks—enticing consumers with cute pictures and overly idealistic promises. They say, without the proper resources, goats can actually be detrimental to the vegetation in rural areas.

So be kind, but beware. The Oxfam website sells its goat care kits (including training, food, water and vet care) separately.

–Caroline Dobuzinskis

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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