Why eating more goat meat is ethically and nutritionally sound

Sheryl Nadler
Shine OnJune 4, 2012

The next time you mosey on up to the butcher counter for some fresh lamb chops or a couple of rib steaks, ask yourself this: should you be eating more goat meat?

This is the question being posed in a recent story by the Guardian, aptly titled, Should We Eat More Goat Meat? Goat, the story posits, is high in protein and iron and lower in fat than beef or pork. So what's the problem? Why aren't we eating more of it?

Ethics can be a big issue, says the Guardian. The story features a farmer who keeps goats for dairy production -- for which male goats are not used -- and who finds himself uncomfortable with the idea of slaughtering male kid goats mere days after being born, a common practice on goat dairy farms. He sees the slaughter as a senseless waste and instead sends his male kid goats to free-range farms where they are raised for meat, says the story.

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Dave Meli, head butcher at The Healthy Butcher, an organic, sustainable butcher in Toronto, says Canadians do eat their fair share of goat meat, but certain ethnic communities tend to favour it more than others.  And price is most certainly an issue when it comes to buying ethically-raised goat meat.

"If you're from a region in the world where goat is popular, it's probably because they're rugged animals, and you can produce things other than meat with them," he says. "Therefore when your culture develops an actual taste for the meat itself, they're used to it being inexpensive. The farmer's actually derive most of their income from the other products they're producing, like the milk or wool."

He goes on to explain that if his shop were to sell ethically-raised goat meat, they would have to charge almost five times what the general market sells it for. And while there may be an appetite for the pungent meat that balances well with the strong spices found in many curries, there is little appetite to pay organic, gourmet prices for meat that usually ends up in a stew.

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But two weeks ago, The Land, a news site based in New South Wales, Australia, proclaimed goat meat to be "in vogue."

"With booming domestic demand and growth in traditional export markets, Australian pastoralists are reaping the rewards of harvesting rangeland goats or better managing goat herds as a resource," says the story.

And the Nigerian Tribune declared goat to be one of the "best animals for your backyard farm" for all the health reasons listed above. Plus, they eat just about anything, says the story. Just remember to keep them away from your vegetable garden, the story cautions.

So is a Canadian goat meat boom far behind? And if so, would you pay the price for ethically-raised goat meat?

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