When you’re out in the goat pasture and feel something leaning up against your side, trying to get your attention, it’s probably Madison the goat. Madison was a 4-H “project,” who was rescued from slaughter about 8 years ago. When he arrived last winter we soon learned of his affection for the two-legged mammals.
The US goat farming and slaughter industry is experiencing rapid growth. Goat meat is commonly used in the growing Muslim, Latino and Indian communities, and according to the American Boer Goat Association it is the “fastest-growing segment in agriculture.” Indeed, total consumption of goat flesh in the US grew by a whopping 64% from 1999 to 2003 and is expected to grow by 10% per year in the short term future. As of January 1, 2005, nearly 2 million goats were being kept on farms for slaughter; another half-million goats were being kept for angora and milk production.
Lucky to have escaped that fate, Madison’s 8 years are catching up with him and he suffers from bad arthritis in his legs — you can actually hear his bones cracking when he walks — and he can sometimes be found “knee walking” (see photo below). Fortunately, we’ve had some success with a very high-end injectable medication that is used on race horses to help mend deteriorating joints, along with some pain meds to keep him comfortable. But even sore joints won’t keep him from frolicking and playing “king of the mountain” with his goat buddies and approaching visitors for a snuggle and a scratch.
You can sponsor Madison or any of our other goats for $25/month. Your sponsorship helps us pay for the animal’s medications, feed, bedding and the loving, knowledgeable staff that cares for them.
Photos below by Derek Goodwin.