Author: Miriam Porter.
When people discuss consuming dairy products it’s often in reference to cow’s milk. But cows are not the only victims of the dairy industry. Goats also have their milk stolen by humans and suffer tremendously in captivity on dairy farms. Scientifically referred to as Capra hircus, these naturally inquisitive and cuddly creatures most likely came from Central Asia, but now live around the world. Keep reading to learn more about domestic goats and why you should leave all dairy products out of your diet, not just dairy from cows.
1. Goats are social creatures
Goats are naturally curious, independent and even mischievous. They need the company of at least one additional goat and can make friends with sheep, donkeys, horses and even cats and dogs. Goats that have been rescued and now live at sanctuaries will climb, play, jump and explore hilly areas. These curious beings investigate their surroundings using their mouth and may gently nudge you if you are feeding or grooming them. Once goats are comfortable around you they are quite affectionate and will play with you or keep you company for hours.
When in freedom or in sanctuaries after being rescued, goats happily wag their tails and graze pastures at their leisure.
2. Goats communicate by bleating
Have you ever spoken to a goat? Or at least attempted it with strange maaa-ing sounds? When goats communicate with each other it’s through vocalizations called bleating. Goats can actually identify individuals and distinguish emotional states of other goats by doing this. They can also recognize how other goats are feeling from the sound of their voice. Baby goats, called kids, have a special bleat for their mom that helps them recognize each other. How adorable is that? Goats are also aware of the facial expressions of other goats in their herd and are smart enough to know the difference between various humans. Lets just say goats know who their friends are.
3. Goats suffer on dairy farms
Goats abused on dairy farms do not have a good life. Female goats are artificially impregnated at a very young age so they will produce as much milk as possible. A dairy goat is forced to produce one to three litres of milk every single day. On commercial goat farms mother and baby are torn apart, just like they are separated on cow farms. It’s a myth that goats are treated any better than cows by these industries. Since male goats cannot produce milk, 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 anaesthetic such as castration and disbudding. Disbudding is the removal of a goat’s nerve-filled horn buds that would eventually grow into larger horns. This procedure is extremely inhumane for the kids who scream out in agonizing pain.
4. Goat milk and lactose intolerance
Like cow milk, goat milk contains a sugar called lactose that is hard for many people to digest, a sure sign it’s not meant for humans to consume. Although it contains less lactose than what is found in cow’s milk, it is still in there, so don’t be fooled by advertising promoting it as a healthier alternative to cow milk. If you are lactose intolerant and drink milk it can result in painful bloating, cramps, gas and vomiting. Skip the cruelty and head right to plant-based milks without lactose such as coconut, almond, cashew, oat, rice, soy and hemp milk.
5. Goat milk is high in calories
Goat milk is packed with calories. In fact, it contains more calories per serving than any other type of milk and can lead to weight gain. Goat’s milk contains saturated fat and consuming this type of fat from animal products may increase heart disease risk factors. Since this type of saturated fat has been linked to unhealthy weight gain, consuming it can lead to other health issues. If you are trying to lose weight, unsweetened plant-based milks are a wholesome replacement. Goat’s milk is healthy if you are a baby goat, not if you are a human. To learn more about how unhealthy consuming dairy is in general, check out this online article by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
6. Goats are individual beings
Goats, like all creatures, want to live free from harm and abuse. The dairy industry sees animals as dollar signs and a way to make large profits. Companies selling goat milk and products such as goat cheese care about making money, not animal rights. Once goats are no longer considered profitable to the industry they are slaughtered. All animals are individual beings and do not deserve the fate that awaits them in the food industries. When goats are happy or excited they point their ears forward and hold their tails up high – all goats should get to experience this.
7. Rescued goats are happy goats
Just in case you needed any more convincing that goats are adorable and caring creatures, meet Scribbles at Farm Sanctuary in Northern California. Scribbles loves exploring, playing, and cuddling. A more recent goat rescue at Farm Sanctuary is Sadie and you can read her story of survival and hope after meeting her bestie Holly, a rescued sheep. Farm Sanctuary provides refuge to many breeds of domestic goats where they can graze in fresh pastures and be at peace where they are treated like someone, not something.
Three things you can do to help:
- Leave dairy products off your plate and replace with tasty plant-based alternatives!
- Start an Animal Save chapter in your area.
- Share this blog article to raise awareness.