23 Goats & Sheep Settle In To Their New Home At WFAS Wednesday, November 01, 2006 Through rain, sleet, snow and very occasional sunshine, we’ve been working hard for months to raise our new barn which we call our Home for the Horned & Hooved. Aptly named for the new residents within – goats & sheep with varied pasts and rescue stories but who now all share one thing in common – a life filled with peace, companionship and comfort at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. WHAT’S WRONG WITH WOOL? Many people believe that shearing sheep helps animals who might otherwise be burdened with too much wool. But without human interference, sheep grow just enough wool to protect themselves from temperature extremes. The fleece provides effective insulation against both cold and heat. Just weeks after birth, lambs’ ears are punched with holes for ID tags, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated, all without anesthetics. To prevent “flystrike” (a maggot infestation caused by wrinkly skin, which is bred into the sheep so that they will have more wool), some ranchers perform an operation called “mulesing,” which involves carving huge strips of flesh off the backs of unanesthetized lambs’ legs. Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without regard for the welfare of the sheep. Says one eyewitness: “[T]he shearing shed must be one of the worst places in the world for cruelty to animals I have seen shearers punch sheep with their shears or their fists until the sheep’s nose bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off ” Sheep are inevitably sent to slaughter when they are no longer wanted by farmers-if they don’t die of exposure or neglect first. WHO EATS GOAT? The US goat farming and slaughter industry is experiencing rapid growth. Goat meat is commonly used in the growing Muslim, Hispanic 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. Houdini escaped from a slaughterhouse. Devlin, above, and Sparky, below came from the worst “hoarding” case ever in Pennsylvania Galaxy, rescued from a dairy goat operation. Gilbert was bought as a kid to be cooked for Easter dinner by a family who had a change of heart.