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Miniature Goats Allowed on Seattle’s Urban Farms

758991785_11d82cc4dd_m I remember my first goat curry, I was ten years old and was at a Fijian Indian wedding, I distinctly remember seeing the goat running around a couple of hours before, I’m just glad the cats and dogs were house pets, not part of the menu.

Goats have been a much maligned creature over the past century, with the introduction of large scale dairy production reducing the requirement to have your own milk source, goats were replaced with domesticated animals such as cats and dogs, which can’t mow the lawn nearly as well!

However, the city of Seattle has made a progressive ruling on the place of miniature goats in urban areas, paving the way for larger scale adoption of urban agricultural practices…

“One giant step for goatkind”: Seattle gives them pet status | Seattle Times Newspaper

Thanks to the work of the Goat Justice League, ruminants now have the right to life and limited liberty in Seattle. On Monday, the City Council acknowledged the miniature goat’s attributes as human companion, weed whacker and milk maker, and unanimously voted that the goats could be kept as pets.

“One small step for man, one giant step for goatkind,” said Council member Richard Conlin, who sponsored the legislation. As of late, goats have gained the environmental status of hybrid cars and bovine-growth-hormone-free milk, prized for their ability to mow lawns without using fossil fuels.

University of Washington and Seattle City Light recently hired herds to clear slopes of blackberry brambles. Monday’s vote marked yet another gain for miniature goats, which are about the size of a large dog. Also known as pygmy or dwarf goats, the animals weigh between 50 and 100 pounds and grow to about 2 feet tall. Owners keep them as pets and sources of milk.

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The Local Story on Goats?

Looking over the City of Castlegar Bylaws, I noticed that goats are specifically referenced in Bylaw 572 – which discusses animal control and licensing. Goats are lumped in with a bunch of other animals including poultry and rabbits that are not permitted within the city limits.

Perhaps with the city looking to improve their overall sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint, being able to produce food at home will be valued by the community.

BC Meat Regulations Hurts Small Scale Farming

As an aside, relating to local food production; I doubt that many people knew that small farms are closing due to the newly enforced provincial regulations regarding the commercial slaughtering of meats. As of today, September 30th, the nearest legal abattoir is in Armstrong, a 365km drive from Castlegar, ie a 730km round trip to legally process meat locally raised! For those of you that are conscious of where your food comes from, keep in touch with Dave Anderson of Legendary Meats in Slocan Park (phone 250-226-7803). There is a podcast regarding this issue from last year – you can find it and some show notes here.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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