5 Fun Facts About Goats and Why We Shouldn’t Exploit Them

Author: Miriam Porter:

Goats are sweet and gentle creatures and should always be treated with love and kindness. Goats are similar to dogs and wag their tails, respond to their names, and love to play with other goats and humans. Goats should never be abused or exploited on factory farms or by the animal agriculture industry for their milk or meat. Keep reading to learn fun facts about goats and why we shouldn’t exploit them.

1. Goats are extremely intelligent, curious, and loving

Behind every adorable goat face and mischievous toothy grin is a smarty-pants that just wants to love and be loved. Many studies on goats have proven there is strong evidence for complex communication between goats and humans. Goats also possess complex foraging tasks and excel at learning new things. They can remember their own name, come when called, and are similar to dogs. When goats can’t solve a problem on their own, they seek help from others and once they figure it out you will know they are happy or excited because their ears are pointed forward and their tails are held up high and wagging. 

2. Goats are exceptional climbers and love to play

Goats have specialized hooves with excellent traction for climbing and navigating varied landscapes and rocky terrain. This skill helps wild goats trek along cliffs and mountain sides to access food and quickly escape predators. Goats love to play! The domesticated rescued goats at Farm Sanctuary have fun on the play structures provided by the sanctuary and have the freedom to graze fresh pastures.  

 “Our visitors are regularly 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 leafy snack.”

 Unfortunately, goats on meat and dairy farms have no access to play structures or any sort of landscape to roam. They are abused and forced to live in cramped and disease ridden conditions, subjected to torturous procedures, and exposed to extreme weather conditions.

3. Don’t piss off goats, they will remember you

Goats have very good long-term memory and can not only solve complex tasks fast, but will remember how to do them almost a year later.  

“Goats learn how to solve complicated tasks quickly and can recall how to perform them for at least 10 months, which might explain their remarkable ability to adapt to harsh environments, say researchers. The goats' ability to remember the task was tested after one month and again at 10 months. They learned the task within 12 trials and took less than two minutes to remember the challenge.”Science Daily

These intelligent creatures recognize individual human faces, as proven by a study conducted at a goat sanctuary in the UK and approved by the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board.

“We present the first evidence that goats can discriminate human facial expressions with different emotional information. Not only can they distinguish them, but they also generally prefer happy faces, regardless of the gender of the human faces or the sex of the goats.”The Royal Society of Publishing

Bottom line? Next time you see a goat you better be smiling.

4. Goats sneeze to warn others of danger

    Although sneezing goats sounds adorable (gesundheit!), goats sneeze to warn each other of danger without alerting predators. This intentional and common behavior is a smart way for them to communicate with other goats. Goats also chat through vocalizations called bleating and can identify individuals and distinguish emotional states of other goats by their bleats.

    “When goats hear a series of calls that change in emotional tone, they look towards the source of the sound – and their heart-rate readings indicate the animals’ own emotions are swayed by the noises.”New Scientist

    On commercial goat farms goats are terrified when they see other goats being abused or killed and hear their bleats of alarm. Sadly their warning cries don’t stop humans from hurting them. Since male goats don’t produce milk and are considered a “wasteful byproduct”, they are either killed at birth or fattened up and kept for the meat trade in the same way male calves are killed for veal. Young goats suffer mutilations without anesthetic such as castration and disbudding. Disbudding is the removal of a goat’s nerve-filled horn buds that would eventually grow into larger horns. Baby goats (kids) scream out in agonizing pain when this happens. Goats are also beaten on “organic” goat farms, as this undercover video by PETA exposed in Germany.

    **Instead of eating goat meat, try jackfruit or seitan or spicy textured chunks made with soy or pea protein in your next curry.


    5. Goats helped discover coffee

      Okay, well it’s based on a legend, but anything is possible. According to the National Coffee Association USA, coffee grown around the world can be traced back centuries to ancient coffee forests on an Ethiopian plateau and legendary goat herder Kaldi.

      “The story goes that Kaldi discovered coffee after he noticed that after eating the berries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night. Kaldi reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery, who made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him alert through the long hours of evening prayer. The abbot shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread.” - NCA

      Coffee later reached the Arabian Peninsula and eventually coffee beans popularity spread around the world. Consider this even more reason not to contribute to goat’s suffering by putting their milk in your coffee, tea, or purchasing goat cheese or yogurt. Besides, unless you are a baby goat, there is no reason to drink goat’s milk. Did you know humans are the only animals on the planet that steal and drink the milk of others? Like cow’s milk, goat’s milk contains a sugar called lactose that is hard for many people to digest, a sure sign it’s not meant for humans. If you are lactose intolerant and drink cow or goat milk it can result in painful bloating, cramps, gas, and vomiting. Try creamy oat milk in your coffee as a delicious alternative. It’s the least we can do for the gentle bleating creatures that helped bring us coffee.

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