Answers to Arguments

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Answers to Common Arguments Against City Goats

“Goats are way too loud to live in the city!”
Miniature goats normally are not noisy animals. They may bleat an excited greeting when they see you at feeding or milking time, but it’s a pleasant “down home” sound. A miniature goat is physically incapable of reaching a decibel on par with a large breed dogs’ bark. And even when a goat is at its absolute loudest, the higher frequencies of a goats bleating does not penetrate house walls like the lower frequency bass tones of a dogs barking can.
Further, goats sleep during the night – they won’t keep your neighbors awake like a barking dog or a yowling tomcat. When darkness falls, miniature goats go to their houses and quietly chew their cud or go to sleep.
On dreary or rainy days, they prefer to stay in their houses and relax and chew their cud; and on bright, sunny days, they like to lie outside and sun bathe. Miniature goats are very peaceful animals and concerning sound ordinances, they do extremely well (much better than dogs!) in urban surroundings.
“Goats are smelly and unclean. They will stink up neighboring yards!”
Although uncastrated male goats have an unpleasant and strong musky odor due to their scent glands that activate upon sexual maturity, females and neutered males have no such odor at all.
Miniature goats, when kept as a pet, have none of the objectionable odors typically associated with livestock, simply because they are so small and are not kept in a barnyard environment with large numbers of other animals.
Additionally, because their diet contains no meat, goat droppings do not have the unpleasant odor that other pets manure has. Goat droppings are small pellets that can easily be raked or swept up and disposed of, or used as soil-ready fertilizer for your garden or flower box. Similarly, goat urine is fairly odor-less, unlike ammonia-rich cat urine.
Miniature goats are very clean animals. Preferring to be clean and dry, they will seek out those places to rest. They do not like rain and will run for shelter when the first drops fall. But even when wet, goats put off no scent – unlike some pets with their classic “wet dog smell”!
 
“Goat feces attracts flies, and would be a nuisance to the city.”
Goat feces is a favorite of composters, precisely because goat manure does NOT normally attract flies! Keep in mind, a fly’s main role in our ecosystem is to “sanitize” things. We normally don’t associate flies with sanitation, but what flies are looking for on piles of excretion is bacteria. They especially love bacteria that lives in the colons of the organisms that did the excreting. This is precisely why goats do NOT typically attract flies.
Goats digestive tracts are much more efficient at drawing out the nutrition from their feed than other animals, even other ruminants. As ruminants, goats have four chambers in their stomachs and these four chambers allow goats to eat grass and plant material and derive nutrients and energy from them. The resulting poop is highly digested, and therefore does not harbor disproportionate amounts of bacteria that flies are attracted to.
Now consider simple-stomached animals such as dogs and cats, with a single chambered digestive tract. These animals are nowhere near as efficient at breaking down consumed foods. In addition to having carnivorous diets, dog and cat waste contains excessive amounts of undigested food that is swarmed by equally excessive amounts of bacteria and parasites. This is why cat and dog feces is unsuitable for composting.
If you put dog, cat, and goat feces side by side, the goat feces is actually the LAST place a fly would land for a meal! Do large herds of goats producing large hills of manure attract flies? Sure! But two or three city goats in a well maintained yard? Not at all. My three foot by three foot compost bin comprised of mostly goat manure doesn’t even attract flies… the flies are all too busy swarming the feces of the neighborhood dogs!
“Goats are dangerous pets and not safe for children or other pets!”
Miniature goats are not aggressive by nature but are very playful. Like other ruminant animals, they have lower teeth but none on top; even if they were to bite, (which they do not), it would be nothing more than a slight pinch — nothing at all like a dog or a cat bite.
Goats do not kick like horses or mules, and being small in stature and typically weighing between 35 to 65 pounds, there is no danger of being stepped on or knocked over by this tiny pet.
It is important to note that a loving pet goat with horns could easily, even if accidentally, injure a child. This is why many goat owners opt to have pet goats horns removed.  There has not been a single documented case of anyone’s being killed or even seriously injured by a miniature goat attack! When threatened, a miniature goat is likely to stand on its hind feet, lower or cock its head to one side, stand its hair on end… or most likely, to simply run and hide!

 

“Goats spread disease and would pose a health hazard to urban neighborhoods!”
You are actually far more likely to contract a disease from a neighborhood dog or cat than you are from a city goat! Miniature goats are not prime carriers of rabies or other common zoonotic diseases (diseases which are transmissible to humans or other animals).
Disregarding zoonotic bacterial food-borne diseases caused by eating contaminated meat or milk, the most common zoonotic disease in the U.S., with 750 cases a year, is Toxocariasis, which is commonly contracted by contact with infected cats and dogs. Taxocariasis is nonexistent in goats.
The few diseases or maladies that afflict miniature goats, while rare, are usually limited to that particular animal and are “species specific” – in this instance, confined only to goats and no threat at all to humans or other pets. According to the CDC, the most common zoonotic diseases goats carry that result in human infection are:
Q Fever – Q Fever is a disease commonly found in livestock. Q Fever in humans is rare, with 131 annual cases in the U.S. Infection occurs by inhaling dust contaminated with dried placental material, birth fluids, as well as urine and feces from infected animals. The fever results in flu like symptoms and is treated with antibiotics. (Note: Dogs and cats can also carry and transmit Q Fever to humans.) For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/qfever/
Brucellosis – Brucellosis is rare in livestock in the U.S., with 80 cases of human infection occurring annually. People most often get infected from direct contact with the placenta and other discharges from animals that are giving birth. (Note: Dogs and cats can also carry and transmit brucellosis to humans.) For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/brucellosis/
Orf – Orf is a parapoxvirus infection found primarily among livestock that causes blistering lesions on the lips, nostrils, udders or toes of affected animals. Orf is rare among humans and transmission occurs by direct contact with the infected site on the animal. Orf is a mild, self-limiting disease, that usually resolves without treatment within 3-6 weeks. (Note: Dogs and cats can also carry and transmit brucellosis to humans.) For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/orf_virus/
All other zoonotic diseases humans may catch from goats are only contracted via consumption of contaminated milk or meat. I’m omitting a lengthy description of these food-borne diseases caused by food contamination because unless you are force feeding your neighbors goat milk and meat from a sick goat, these would hardly constitute a “health hazard to neighbors”.
In light of the national statistics, and the prevalence of zoonotic diseases among domesticated animals, when you weigh the facts, a city goat is actually a far preferable pet to have than a cat or a dog if zoonotic diseases are a major concern!
“Goats need lots of room. Keeping them in the city for milk production or companionship is inhumane.”
This argument is usually presented by people who have no problem obtaining milk from commercially raised, overmedicated, hormone pumped cows in filthy, overcrowded conditions.
Miniature goats, being extremely petite in size, require relatively little space – far less than large breed dogs. Additionally, unlike dogs and cats that require space to roam, miniature goats are creatures of routine. Once they learn their “territory”, they normally are content to stay within it.
Miniature goat societies recommend between 200 to 300 square feet of outdoor space for a pair of miniature goats. A 15 by 15 foot pen is more than enough room to take care of two small goats outdoor needs. A standard sized residential backyard is more than sufficient for little goats!
“If you want to raise these kinds of animals, you should go live in the country!”
Scale is everything. What can be reasonably done on a city lot? Can you humanely raise 200 head of cattle without breaking noise, health or nuisance ordinances? Not likely. But can a small flock of chickens and a couple of dwarf goats have a safe, clean home in a Visalia backyard? Most definitely!
After the Industrial Revolution, humans made the switch from being mostly rural to mostly urban. The majority of our population now lives in cities. The notion that city-dwellers should not have the right to produce food on their small piece of land is not only unfair, but dangerous – as it leaves urban residents vulnerable to a multitude of food safety and security concerns.
In this agriculturally rich region of the Central Valley, land is quite expensive. Some people, myself included, simply cannot afford to live in the country. It is a shame that a city would punish low-income citizens and needlessly deprive those who most need the financial benefit of self-sustainability, simply because they cannot afford the luxury of owning gratuitous amounts of land in complete isolation from others.
While many people who live in the city may be content to purchase all of their food from stores, those that opt to pursue greater food independence (whether for financial, health, environmental, or food safety and security reasons) should be allowed to do so. It is a basic human right.
“I just don’t want a goat for a neighbor.”
That’s the great thing about America… we can enjoy personal freedoms without the ignorance, bigotry or bias of others infringing on our personal rights. Can you imagine what our community would look like if our government catered to the whims of a neighbor who’s only complain is, “I just don’t like that”?
Some people don’t like dogs. Some people don’t like children. Some people don’t like others with darker skin. Some people don’t like Christians. Some people don’t like the color blue. Thankfully, “not liking” and “not wanting” isn’t grounds for infringing on your neighbors right to property, privacy, health and pursuit of happiness.
In the case of miniature goats, to have a city threaten its citizens with fines and dictate what they can and can’t have on their private property – not because they are being a noise nuisance or a danger or a hazard to others, but simply because some people “don’t like goats”? That is unacceptable.
If a miniature goat’s only crime is that “some people don’t like goats”, that is no reason for an entire city government to pander to the discrimination of a select few neighborhood busybodies being overly concerned with their neighbors back yard. Catering to the wants of a biased few is not a valid reason to infringe on the property and privacy rights of the many.
The bottom line is: Someone’s narrow minded aversion to miniature goats should NOT infringe on another individuals personal right to procure superior nutrition and a fantastic, safe and loved pet to their family.

3 Responses to Answers to Arguments

  1. Diane Luiz says:

    Please put me on your mailing list. I am a California Department of Food and Agriculture Livestock Inspector who raised dairy goats for over 25 years. Perhaps my knowledge and expertise could be of some assistance to your movement.

    • Kristeina Wolfert says:

      Yes please Diane! We would love your help, and any connections to those who would like to help us in any way they can!

  2. Wilma okano says:

    I’m curious to know if they are allowed in NW Visalia?

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