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Like cattle and sheep, goats are far-ranging ruminants who spend their time in social herds, wandering the landscape and eating. But unlike them, they browse rather than graze, meaning they prefer to nibble vines, shrubbery and weeds, rather than just chew grass. Goats are extremely inquisitive and intelligent animals, and will thoroughly explore anything new or unfamiliar in their surroundings. They are also highly playful and affectionate. Female goats are well known as patient, nurturing mothers, which is why they are often used to foster orphaned or rejected lambs, calves and even foals.

But on commercial and many small goat farms, mother goats are cruelly torn from their very own babies, in order for humans to drink their milk. Many more goats are killed for meat; nearly 1 million goats were killed for meat in the U.S. in 2011. On small and large farms, virtually all goats are subjected to painful mutilations without anesthetic, including castration (males) and/or burning their nerve-filled horns out of their heads (both males and females). Many goats are also killed in cruel religious or ethnic ritual slaughter practices, which require that the animals be conscious when their throats are slit.  Please read more about the plight of goats raised for milk and meat at our Learn page for goats.