Archive for the ‘goats’ Category

bill niman and his goats (!!!)

October 16, 2008

Bill Niman is going back to his roots. He walked away from Niman Ranch — and even his name — after disagreements with new management over protocols in animal treatment. (I’m not sure I’ll be able to eat Niman Ranch anymore, I’ll have to do some more research on this one.)

[Image: Chad Case for The New York Times]

This time, he’s focusing on goats. I love goats, but I’m not sure I can eat one. They’re almost like dogs in my mind. But if they’re humanely raised (ie, able to live a healthy life, doing the things that goats like to do) I guess the practice of farming them for meat is okay with me. I don’t know Mr. Niman, but I think I can trust that he takes good care of his goats. And his vegetarian wife probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Read the NY Times article about Niman and his goats.

Check out some picture I took recently at the Central Park Zoo:

goats are great (lawnmowers)

September 20, 2008

I have a thing for goats, as some of you might already know. If I had a yard and it were legal in this city, I’d have a goat. So naturally I was excited to see this Nightline feature on goats as lawnmowers in LA. Check it out:

gotta love goats

August 26, 2008

I do at least. They’re hysterical. Like these pygmy goats who like to jump on their dog:

Or this kid who likes to jump on the bed:

How about an office goat?

According to the National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA):

The Pygmy Goat is hardy, alert and animated, good-natured and gregarious; a docile, responsive pet, a cooperative provider of milk, and an ecologically effective browser. The Pygmy goat is an asset in a wide variety of settings, and can adapt to virtually all climates.

Sadly, we can’t buy a goat because we live in the city — their are ordinances against owning them here (and where would we put the little bugger in our apartment?).
But if you’re interested in getting your own pygmy goat, as a pet, for milking, or maybe for mowing your lawn, try these NPGA-approved breeders:

If you don’t want to commit to having your own goat, you can rent one!

Related posts:

dairy-air: milk production sources exposed

July 14, 2008

You’re in the dairy aisle, trying to figure out which milk to buy. You spot the organic label and think, I can trust this — it’s organic, it’s better for me and the environment. And the cows are happily grazing in green pastures. Wrong again! That USDA Organic label is not always so forthcoming, especially in the world of dairy production.

Now you might be thinking, why is she bursting my milky bubble? I thought I had this organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free milk thing figured out. Yeah, me too. Until I started digging a little deeper into the manure pile of dairy greenwashing.

The biggest brands you might recognize in the supermarket milk game are Horizon Organic and Organic Valley. I had heard a couple of years ago that Horizon didn’t have the lily white reputation they claimed to have, that they weren’t any better than conventional because they sourced their milk from factory farms. So they’ve been off my list for a while.

But I thought I could trust Organic Valley, with their barefoot CEO reeking of humble beginnings and honest behavior. Boy did I fall for that one! Recent reports say Organic Valley decided to source from a 10,000 head cattle operation in Texas where “some” of their cows are exposed to pasture. Doesn’t sound like a small-scale, sustainable family farm to me. Honestly, the news broke my butter-loving heart. And that CEO-sans-shoes, George Siemon, says,

“Sometimes you have to make compromises; that’s just the nature of business,” … “I made the decision to buy the product, and I’m willing to take the heat.” (source: The Capital Times)

Sorry, George, but that’s not a compromise I would have made. I semi-admire Siemon’s willingness to “take the heat,” but what irks me is his lack of responsibility to his customers who actually care what they’re feeding themselves and their families. (More at Grist)

Large-scale dairy production is neither healthy nor sustainable.
Like many things that seem reasonably priced on the sticker, factory farming poses hidden costs to society. Here are just a few (source: Union of Concerned Scientists):

  • Water pollution from manure runoff
  • Oxygen-depleted coastal regions (from runoff)
  • Air pollution from manure
  • Methane release from manure lagoons
  • Negative health impact on surrounding communities (plus the smell, egad!)
  • Antibiotic-resistant pathogens (like MRSA)
  • Grain subsidies
  • Pollution prevention subsidies

So which dairies can you trust?
One way to ensure your hard-earned buck is going toward better milk products is to visit your local farmer’s market. There you can meet face-to-face with the farmers and ask them all about their practices. Many farms even encourage visits so you can see first hand where the stuff is coming from.

Find a farmer’s market near you

No farmer’s market in your area? Here are some small-scale dairy brands (and the products they offer) you may have seen in your supermarket:

And then there’s…
Stonyfield, though recently under scrutiny due to dairy farm wages (and now majority owned by Groupe Danone), maintains their support for small-scale farms.

BAAaaa don’t forget goat’s milk!
I love goats and anything made with their milk. Goat’s milk is said to have greater health benefits than cow’s milk, like promoting better mineral absorption (e.g., calcium, magnesium). It’s also more easily digested than moo milk. (Other health advantages here.)

Wanna try? Look for these goat-ee-licious brands:

More about large- vs small-scale farming:
If you’ve got the time, here’s a comprehensive report from the Union of Concerned Scientists about the economic and environmental costs of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations).

A great resource that’s keeping organic farmers honest is the Cornucopia Institute, an independent watchdog organization that advocates small farming practices.

Everyone must be on the same dairy wavelength today, ’cause as I was writing this post, this came through from Manhattan User’s Guide:

So let’s see if we’ve got this straight: the Monsanto company produces a synthetic growth hormone called Posilac, used by some dairy farmers, which juices cows to produce more milk. Lots of people don’t want this in their milk, for compelling reasons. Dairy farmers that do not use the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) almost invariably state that on their milk carton labels. You, the consumer, get useful info. But since the FDA would not allow Monsanto to ban rBGH labelling nationally, the dirtbags have been going state-by-state to pass legislation that would ban the labelling. They’re now trying to do it in New York; they need to be stopped.