The issue of goat welfare came up on the farm the other day, and raised a few contentions in my mind. It not being my own farmstead or my personal goats, I could have no control or coercement over the final situation, in the end, a decision was taken that in my mind was not conducive to goat and livestock welfare, and actually morally wrong, so I wanted to raise a flag, and see if there are any others who are alligned with the same mindset.
A male goat was to be sold to another farm in the locality, because her last goat, her only representive member, was ‘bored’, and needed an ungulate companion. Said farmer asked the owner of the farm I currently dwell on if she could buy one of her males. But she did not want any offspring, and concurently requested for the goat to be castrated and de-horned, you know, so they don’t fight or fuck, like that natural wilderness inside them impells them to, such would be a terrible thing, sarcastically speaking. Said man goat in his youth, was taken to a ‘friend’ by the farmer, and had the deed done, permanently sterile, and had his horns cut, and burned down… and then sold at a ‘fair price’.
Now, in the words of Sepp Holzer, and Austrian permaculturalist, on de-horning, he says “It is extremely painful for the animals and also has an effect on their behaviour. Acording to my observations, they act in a completely different and disturbed way. They butt each other in the stomach, which can lead to premature or stillbirths in pregnant cattle.In addition to this, I am of the opinion that dehorning cattle also affects them in other ways. I think it is possible that animals also store and dispose of harmful substances in their claws and horns. Dehorning as well as docking tails and cropping ears is nothing more than mutilation.”
Thus is can be said the same for goats, dehorning them only creates a false sense of equal rank, instead of establishing a hierarchial system that exists also in other mammals like wolves, the beta’s and submissive serve the alpha, usually female, or farm animals like the chicken pecking order, these are important natural orders that people try to manipulate and change for better keeping conditions, during the domestication process, they lose their innate behaviors and have problems with the social structure of their kin. Removing the horns is taking away their power, and possibly as Sepp Holzer notes, an external source of waste for possible pollutants, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, smog or processed and gmo chemicals and substance that enter the body, the same way humans do in their nails and hair. On the castration issue, I think this stands as obvious, that we must treat animals with consideration, and it is straight mutilation to do such a thing. Ask yourself what you think about circumsicion, or female clitoral cutting at birth, as well as that of castration, this is mutilation, a form of punishment or conditioning, a medieval torture method.
I generally go against domestication of any kind, including the human kind, and in my opinion, the ideal farm would be left partly feral, just tended to from the wilderness with space for animals to live in a natural ecosystem, not a paddock or pen. I could almost feel the pain of this unsuspecting goat, who was chosen to have its man parts removed for the sake of a quick sale. This goat is now sterile, essentially removing it’s lineage forever. It will lose its testosterone, and its meat will take a lesser quality, not to mention he may suffer from arthritis from the lack of strength in his elder years. He will be more susceptible to problems if he accidentally consumes infected grasses, poisonous mushrooms or chemicals that somehow infest its feed from the monsanto type companies that control much of the farm feed at its source. I am completely against this move, and ask others to consider what they would do with their livestock, and animals, and consider them like family.
A special note to add, only some centuries ago, our Celtic and Germanic Ancestors, of Northern Europe did not have a separate room for their cows away from the house, it was attached to the main building, and on specifically cold nights, they would sleep one or two on each side of the cow to keep warm. The cow was clean at all times, and not looked at as a kind of bestial creature, made for living in the muck. They had a name and a place. They were a valued member of the farm.