Not a baaad idea to buy some sheep

When a catalog trumpets itself as “The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World, ” you want operators standing by to take your credit card orders for world peace and international nuclear disarmament.

The Little Rock, Ark.-based Heifer Project International totes enough worthy causes to justify its claims. Imagine the scenario, as the nonprofit organization describes it: “You decide to donate a sheep in honor of your mother, who has always loved these gentle animals. Your mother receives a handsome gift card, describing the generous contribution you’ve made in her honor.”

Then, a Bolivian family gets the ewe, makes clothing from its wool and mates it with the village ram. The first female lamb goes to another family in need, and so on and so on.

You can choose from 11 other members of the animal kingdom (although we don’t know what message Aunt Mildred will get when you choose the $250 water buffalo). If you have your heart set on a llama but can’t afford $250, buy a share for $20. Bargain hunters might prefer the $30 honeybees or a flock of geese for $20. If nothing but the best will do, then go for the $500 heifer.

All gifts, by the way, are tax-deductible. You can’t slide a Furby past the International Revenue Service and besides, they don’t give milk.

For more information, call 800-422-0755 or find the project online at

This article originally appeared in the Contra Costa Times