Getting one’s goat

Goat cheese consumption is growing globally, according to a recent report from Persistence Market Research. This is good news for producers such as White Lake Cheese or Delamere Dairy in the UK. People are turning to goat milk as an alternative to cow’s milk, and as a way to continue to drink milk, in Europe and the US.

According to the International Goat Association, worldwide goat milk production increased by 108.7% from 1988 to 2013, from 8,828,266 to 18,422,372 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2013). Nevertheless, the goat is still exploited mainly for meat production, milk only being the principal product on the European continent, notes Francisco de Asis Ruiz Morales, IGA’s country representative for Spain.

The British goat herd numbers around 33,000 and the main breeds are the British Saanen, British Toggenburg, British Alpine and Anglo Nubian, according to the SRUC in Scotland. Output at peak is about four litres per day per animal, and average herd size for cheese production is about 100 animals.

However, like anything, goats can sometimes have unintended consequences. Look at Lynton in Devon, UK, which has been overrun by feral goats. The dispute goes on, as culls in the past have happened, and now they have a keeper of the goats who does his best to keep the caprines from taking over. And there is also the issue of Mary Berry, national British treasure, being attacked by a goat she was trying to milk on television earlier this year on the BBC. A replacement goat was brought in that was much more compliant with her wishes.

Never mind. Goats are used to help keep dry matter down in California, reducing the risk of forest fires, as they can eat up to 10 pounds of vegetation a day. I guess it’s a case of good goat, bad goat.

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