Monday, September 3, 2018

The Animal Rights Activist Who Got it Wrong

Livestock Guardian Dog & Granny help new mama
clean off baby Sofie. Is this abusive, too?
OK, so that’s kind of a strong statement to lead off with. But, dammit, reactive “animal rights” activists make me so mad I could spit. Spit, dammit. And my day started off so well, too.
I was drinking my coffee on this fine Labor Day when Katherine told me about a Facebook tirade on our friend’s page. The friend had posted a memory of her all-time favorite goat. In this happy memory, the goat and girl were smiling for the camera with ribbons galore. To protect the innocent, I will not share the exact picture but here’s something similar to give you the idea. 
Katherine and Pupa
The sad part of the post is that the goat died in kidding later that year, much to the dismay of the young breeder. Hence the commemorative 1-year memory.
We’ve all been there. I’ve written about the intense emotions of raising goats. Long days and nights waiting for a goat to go into labor, watching for subtle signs, rushing home from school, burning rubber out of the driveway at 2:00am to help someone else’s goat in labor. Hours in the barn/garage waiting for a goat to give birth. The unimaginable stress of a complicated birth: pullers, lube, various repositioning techniques, crying goats, crying people. Tears of unadulterated frustration, tears of abject grief.
And that’s not even when you have to make the hard call to put a goat down. In that scenario multiply all of the above by 10.
So, back to our friend’s post. There she is smiling with her now-deceased favorite goat. The post was meant to pay homage to her goat, to her relationship with her pet, and to her love for this animal. Back in early 2018 when she put her goat down, she posted photos of her “tribute wall” to her goat: a wall full of ribbons, plaques and photos attesting to the wonderful partnership of the goat and its handler. Awww, big smiles. That’s why we are “in goats.”
The memory included a collage of photos about her goat. Again, to protect her identity and privacy, I won’t use her photos. But I will include a similar montage of our own goat. (We adored this goat and the myriad of life experiences we had with her. She lived 11 or 12 wonderful years and taught us so much.)
Pupa
At first, the responses to our friend were all normal – like, like, like, “that was last year!,” love, tears, etc. But then… there was this left-field response:


I scratched my head in baffled confusion.
Slaughter? Um, what slaughter? The goat was euthanized after a bad kidding. Her owner was right there with her the entire time – scratching her shoulder and holding her hoof. Slaughter? What the hell? And … Jesus…? What does he have to do with this? Protein? It’s as if we were transported to parallel universe where you say one thing and the “universal translator” comes up with something totally different.
Universal Translator at Work
Our friend responds: “She wasn’t slaughtered? She was a beloved pet.” (Duh).





The Activist responds:
Um, right-o. Our buddy can account for each and every one of her goats. Not just their whereabouts, either. In fact, I will bet you $10 right here and now that she could recite--off the top of her head--the registered show name, barn name and three degrees of pedigree for each and every one of her goats… AS WELL AS their favorite treats and individual idiosyncrasies. I know Katherine can. I just asked her.
And we aren’t talking about one or two goats here; these girls have 50-100 goats at any given time.
Where is this verbal abuse about “animal abuser,” “Jesus” and “protein” coming from? I’m disappointed to say that, after stalking my friend’s page, this is not the first false accusation of goat abuse she has received.
My buddy is a better person than I, ‘cuz I woulda blasted The Activist. Like a true Christian, my friend let it go.
What really frosts me is that The Activist jumped on this post making some blatantly wrong assumptions. She viewed the post through her “save-the-animals-from-the-evil-humans” filter. And then she reacted. Without thinking. (As my dear ex-husband used to say, “There’s a difference between being open minded and having a hole in your head.)
The Activist obviously didn’t read any further on my friend’s page or she would’ve seen a slew of loving posts about baby goats, about piling goats into the cab of her truck when the trailer got a flat tire, about preferring goats to people, etc. etc. Totally normal stuff in the Pygmy Goat World.

So, how did The Activist even find my buddy? All I can figure is that The Activist was trolling around Facebook doing some random search or another--maybe “goat”? But wait. I just did that search and got this:

Certainly nothing about slaughtering goats. Or maybe those search results are based on my preferences? On a complicated algorithm I’m certain. Facebook seems to think I like cute videos of animals (which I do).
So, what does Facebook think The Activist likes to see? Yikes. If you include “slaughter” in your search you do come across some gruesome images and videos. But, not about Pygmy Goats. And not about my friend.
I know my friend has an active and successful breeding and sales program, and I suspect she sources a lot of sales off of Facebook (since Katherine does, too). But, again, if you search “goat sales” you get lots of cute baby goat photos.
I have yet to unravel this mystery. Perhaps The Activist and her buds are targeting my friend?  God knows why, though. (Oooo, there it is … I invoked religion…! Per The Activist’s accusation.)
I remember a story in the newspaper a while back about an Animal Rights group (that shall remain nameless lest I use my voice as free advertising). In the middle of the night they raided a goat farm based on some misguided notion that the goats were being mistreated.
They found a baby goat with a runny nose and some lice and gallantly "rescued" it from the evil farmer. OK, I admit I am skeptical based on my own experience with goats. Runny noses and lice are not uncommon; they are yucky and sub-optimal, but not earth shattering. In fact, I bet I could find some goats that fit that description in my field right now. Hell, I could probably find CHILDREN with runny noses and lice, too. But I digress…
Back to our story. Our Heroic Activist steals the baby goat, ripping it away from its mother. And what do you think happened? The baby goat got SICKER… because it wasn’t eating…because it didn’t know how to nurse off of a bottle…because it had a mama. (I refer you to my post about bottle feeding baby goats. It’s not as easy as you – or The Activist—might think).
Fortunately, The Activist took the kid to a vet who dosed it up with some antibiotics and convinced it to eat from a bottle. The baby survived and was re-homed with some seemingly-sensible people who now love the little animal.
But, the story easily could’ve had a different, tragic ending because of the rash act of The Activist.
Time for a breather. I need to get my blood pressure back down. 
Here’s a cute baby goat video of the antics of our goat “Sofie” and her farmyard friends. 
The Antics of Sofie
Yes, of course, there are some bad farmers out there. And, yes, some animals are raised in deplorable conditions (people, too, for that matter).
As a society we must be careful not to view everything exclusively through our personal biases. Just because there are some bad people, doesn’t mean all people are bad.
 
The Law of the Hammer and the Nail


And for God’s sake, we need to educate ourselves before we react.
Yup