Rescued friendly goats at Farm Sanctuary wag their tails in the hope of receiving a scratch, or a leafy snack.
There are lots of ways to help goats, even though it’s rare to see them outside a sanctuary. Goats are friendly and amusing creatures, quite similar to dogs (fun, friendly, live around the same age). But the rise of goat milk, kefir and goat meat has led to huge welfare issues (some baby goats abroad are slaughtered in front of of each other) and prone to live export and ritual slaughter. Also see ideas for better farm animal welfare.
One of the world’s first domesticated animals, goats are affectionate creatures that are also very social. They have cloven hooves (so can climb well, but it’s a myth they don’t fall near steep cliffs). Like sheep, their rectangular eyes means they can see most predators from behind (even when they bend to graze grass, they can still see the horizon).
- Support your local goat sanctuary: two are Goats Galore (Herefordshire) and Buttercups (Kent).
- Grazing only on grass can cause parasites, and some plants (alfalfa, clover) can cause bloat (goats burp a lot). They can live with sheep but must have different food (and there are strict amounts on copper safety given to both species, different in each). And goats tend to head-butt for fun, which sensitive sheep don’t like. Farm Sanctuary & Open Sanctuary both have expert info.
- Painful foot-rot is usually prevented with clean transport, foot-trimming and quarantining sheep to new flocks for 30 days. Purdue University has good info and Homeopathy at Wellie Level offers courses for farmers. Sheepeasy (a hammock) makes goat/sheep footcare more comfy.
- See how to help our small farmers for charities that can help, from welfare and finance to ideas like AgriTourism.
Help to Stop Live Exports
Goats are one of the many animals that are exported live on ships (often on journeys that last days in heat – many suffocate or get trampled). This can occur to Europe or from Australia to the Middle East. And when they arrive, they are often killed, in countries with poor welfare laws. Compassion in World Farming has just launched a case against DEFRA, after the Scottish government hired a QC to keep live transport of calves for 135-hour trips to Europe (many people voted to leave to EU, on guarantee of banning live exports).
Green MEP Keith Taylor says that if Prime Minister Johnson does a trade deal with the World Trade Organisation, welfare laws will be even worse than the EU (for instance, it presently won’t allow the EU to ban the import of battery eggs, which is why consumers have power to stop it, as governments and trade organisations won’t). They and Eurogroup for Animals are trying to change the law, and encourage people never to eat veal (from live-exported calves who live in crates that are banned here). Sign the Stop the Trucks petition.