Growing up and even now I have learned in depth about wild animals and other creatures. But when I learned about farm animals and other commonly eaten animals I was taught “milk comes from cows!” “chickens lay eggs!” very basic facts about how we consume and use them. When really these animals are so interesting and are not just “dumb” or “food” animals. People disconnect themselves from these animals so they feel less guilty when eating them.
Goats are having a moment, and we’re not just saying that because our blog is called Goats and Soda.
There are nearly 900 million goats in the world today, up from 600 million in 1990. The reason for this goat spurt is the growing popularity of goat cheese, goat milk and goat meat.
For goat farmers to do a good job, they need to understand their goats. And that’s where Alan McElligott comes in. He’s a senior lecturer in animal behavior at the Queen Mary University of London. And he says that goats are “underrepresented” in animal welfare studies.
That’s bad for goat farmers. They need to know whether their herd is in a “positive” or “negative” frame of mind, he says: “If animals have chronic stress, they’re far more likely to get ill. That costs money in terms of medicine and vet bills.”
And it’s not enough to know when your goat’s mad. “Keeping animals is not just preventing them from being in negative states,” McElligott explains. “You would want to have animals in positive states. But it is more difficult to identify those positive states.”
So McElligott and several colleagues ran a study to see if they could find helpful clues for farmers. The research was conducted over summer months because “goats hate cold weather and particularly hate rain,” so they’re more cooperative subjects in warm weather.
We were definitely curious: What does a happy goat look like? We spoke to McElligott to find out.
Life is too short to choose between being a cat person OR a dog person. Choose cats AND dogs. Also choose rodents, birds, reptiles, marine creatures, farm animals…like just choose all animals. Be an animal person.