Fern the Kid Sunday, March 01, 2009 Fern is a baby goat who was born at a goat milk and meat facility in Upstate NY. Several weeks ago a concerned woman named Lori stopped to have a closer look at all the baby goats she could see from the road. Evidence of neglect was immediately apparent, and one little goat in particular caught her attention. Fern’s back leg was dangling from an obvious break and the tips of her ears were bloody and scabbed from frostbite. When Lori inquired about her leg the farmer shrugged, saying that Fern probably got caught in a fence and it would heal on its own. Unable to deal with such suffering, Lori purchased Fern for $20 and got her to a vet, who was able to set the leg in a splint. Lori then called us, and we welcomed Fern with open arms. Almost immediately she made lots of new friends and is now enjoying her new-found life of freedom, nurturing care, and all the love she’ll ever need. (Photos: Right: B. Esposito, Left: P. Katsikas) About Goats Goats are very much like dogs in their temperament and individuality. They seek out human affection, run and play with each other and possess distinct personalities. Visitors to WFAS are usually surprised to learn that goats are amongst the most exploited farm animals in the world. Right after cattle, goats are the most-consumed meat on the planet (excluding fish). In the US, goat flesh is the “fastest-growing segment in agriculture” according to the American Boer Goat Association, driven in part by the increasing populations for whom goat meat is the cultural norm. Indeed, total consumption of goat flesh in the U.S. grew by 64% from 1999 to 2003 and has remained in the double-digits since then. Goat dairy operations share the same characteristics as cow operations, albeit on a smaller scale — to keep production as high as possible, the females are kept constantly pregnant and the male offspring are typically killed young — “kid meat” it’s called, a delicacy — and the females raised for future milking. Goats are unusual in that they are more often found in urban live kill markets than other mammals, typically for Halal or Kosher slaughter. So while we get lots of calls about escaped chickens running around the streets of Manhattan, we also frequently get calls about goats.