With Eid al Adha coming up, it’s a good time to talk about a program by Heritage Foods USA called “No Goat Left Behind“.
In America, goat meat is not very popular – the average American prefers beef or lamb more than goat. However, Americans do like goat cheese. For this reason, goats in America are mainly used for their milk rather than for their meat.
The problem is that milk can only be obtained from female goats who are constantly having babies. When baby goats are born (usually 2 – 3 at a time), about half of them are male and there isn’t much use for male goats when it comes to making cheese. This surplus of male goats puts farmers in a difficult position.
It’s costly to raise goats on dairy farms because the mother’s milk is being used to make cheese. So farmers need to raise the baby goats by feeding them expensive goat milk replacement formula. The female baby goats will be milked when they get older but since there isn’t much demand for goat meat farmers start to question whether they should even spend the money raising all of the male goats with no end meat market.
A quarter of male goat kids are sold directly by farmers to consumers or small markets but not all farmers have the time and energy to make direct consumer sales. Consequently, at just a few days old, male kids are sold to feedlots or auctioned in commodity markets which greatly diminishes their quality of life from a humane and animal welfare perspective. Sometimes, male goats are killed at birth because of the financial burden it puts on farmers when there aren’t enough people willing to eat goat meat.
The “No Goat Left Behind” program by Heritage Foods USA aims to bring goat to more restaurants and homes. Goat is a seasonal meat available fresh in the fall (or frozen year round). Baby goats are born in the spring and after being raised for several months, goats are ready to eat fresh by October. For this reason, Heritage Foods USA has named October, #Goatober. During #Goatober, a number of participating restaurants in New York and the Bay Area feature goat on their menus for a whole month.
The “No Goat Left Behind” program is something to keep in mind when choosing meat for Eid al Adha. Talk to your your halal butcher if they can purchase goat for you from a local dairy farm with a surplus of males, such as the farms listed here. To learn more about the program, watch the video below.