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Goats

Mischievous, friendly pranksters

At the sanctuary, our rescue goats are notoriously friendly and curious. Like pet dogs they wag their tails, respond to their names and form strong bonds with peers and people.

As much as any farmed animal, goats display the ability to understand and respond to human communication using eye contact, gestures, and body language—traits they likely developed over thousands of years evolving alongside human populations.

Although goats are not as commonly incarcerated and slaughtered as are other farmed animals, worldwide millions are needlessly processed into food and fabric. We provide sanctuary to many different breeds of domestic goats, allowing them the freedom to graze, socialise and play. Our visitors are genuinely moved by the inquisitiveness and playfulness of these merry pranksters, who are always eager to greet guests in the hopes of receiving a scratch or a tasty snack.

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Featured rescue stories

Larry
Stories from the field
Larry
Larry is a goat found alone and in need of a forever home.
Read More
Gilbert
Stories from the field
Gilbert
Gilbert is a goat who wasn't wanted or loved and needed a home.
Read More
Vandal
Stories from the field
Vandal
Vandal is a goat who needed help and the safety of a forever home.
Read More

Goat facts

Goats can understand how other goats are feeling just from the sound of their voice.

Wild goats are native across western Asia and can be found at elevations as high as 4,500 metres.

Goats seek help from their goat herd when they can’t solve a problem on their own.

When happy or excited, goats point their ears forward and hold their tails up high.

“Goats are the cable talk show panellists of the animal world, ready at a moment’s notice to interject, interrupt, and opine.”

- Jon Katz
Author of The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

Sanctuary life

As well as paddock shelters where they can retreat during wilder weather, our goats have large spacious areas in which to play and explore.

Just like our companion animals, farmed animals need fun things to keep them occupied too. At our sanctuary, they have rocks to clamber on, wooded areas to browse through and paddocks to play in.

We carry out regular health checks to spot and treat any problems that may arise within the herd as quickly as possible.

“I want to go about like the light-footed goats”

- Johanna Spyri
author of Heidi, 1827

Suffering for their meat, milk and fibres

In all three industries, playful, intelligent goats routinely suffer inhumane treatment throughout their lives and are often slaughtered for human consumption.

Goats Used For Dairy

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Continuously pregnant
Goats used for dairy, like dairy cows, are kept continually pregnant via repeated artificial insemination so that they will keep producing milk.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Unwanted males sold for meat

Newborn goats are taken from their mothers immediately after birth, ensuring that their mother’s milk can be used for human consumption. As with dairy cows, males are less valuable to farmers who prefer females for the profitability of their milk. Those males who are kept to be sold for meat are “wethered” or castrated, sometimes with a blade and sometimes by constricting blood flow to the testes by strangulating the scrotum with a rubber ring with no painkillers or sedation. This is illegal if done to a companion animal. 

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Incessant production

Female kids are raised on artificial formula and artificially impregnated as soon as possible to produce milk. A dairy goat will typically produce 1 to 3 litres of milk each day—about 7,000 litres over a 10-year lifetime.

Goats Used For Meat

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Smaller industry, less monitoring

One reason for small herd size is goats’ relative susceptibility to parasites, making them poor candidates for the feedlot-fattening practices used with cows. Still, only around half of goat-meat farmers in a 2009 national study were familiar with some of the most common “economically important” diseases in goats, and just over a third had consulted a veterinarian about their goats in the preceding year.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Slaughtered young
Goats used for meat are slaughtered very young, at just a fraction of their natural lifespan. A kid is typically slaughtered when just 3 to 5 months old. “Cabrito” meat comes exclusively from goats that are killed in their first week of life. Although goats may not legally be fed growth hormones, they may be fed antibiotics, and must endure a “withdrawal period” before slaughter that allows such antibiotics enough time to exit the animal’s systems.

Goats Used For Fibre

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Horns often painfully removed

Mohair yarns and fabrics most often come from the hair of the Angora goat. When still young, goat kids kept for this purpose are typically “disbudded”—a painful and stressful procedure where the buds of the goat’s horns are removed using a hot iron with no pain killers or sedation.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Shorn and frightened
Like sheep who are shaved for their wool, Angora goats often need to be forcibly wrestled to the ground as their warm coats are removed with electric shears, a frightening process for a prey animal that can result in cuts and scrapes. Farmers will shear goats as young as six months old and commonly twice a year.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Suffering for luxury

Most of the world’s cashmere production comes from flocks kept in the mountains of China and Mongolia. As worldwide demand has increased, goats have frozen to death after being shorn midwinter to meet market demand.