Goats? Minneapolis says no, Seattle says yes

Yesterday in The Cities, we explored the “goat divide” in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis has resisted efforts to allow goats within city limits, but in St. Paul, goats are free to roam in your background, as long as you have a permit.

Minneapolis isn’t alone in being somewhat reluctant to expand its urban menagerie. Other cities have fought efforts to allow goats and chickens, but urban animal advocates have fought back, superhero-style.

The Goat Justice League in Seattle led a successful effort in 2007 to allow goats in residential areas.

Jennie Grant photo.jpg

Jennie Grant, the group’s founder, has been raising goats for nearly 5 years. She shared some goat stories with me last week in between milking her two adults, Maple and Snowflake. “It’s a tremendous amount of work, but it’s really fun,” she said.

Grant fell in love with the idea of owning goats when she tasted fresh goat’s milk for the first time. Now, her family drinks goat’s milk every day and uses the leftovers to make cheese. Each goat produces between 2 cups and a gallon of milk each day.

Grant said her goat-milk mozzarella is impossible to distinguish from the real deal.

“It doesn’t have that goaty flavor at all,” she said. “You can put it on a kid’s pizza, and they’ll think it’s great.”

She receives emails from people all over the country who want to own goats and other small farm animals. She offers advice about all things goat-related, from how to build a goat shed to how to entertain a goat. “They’re intelligent creatures, so you want stuff for them to be able to hop up and down on,” Grant said. “Like maybe a little staircase that goes nowhere or a balance beam.”

chicken logo cropped.jpg The Goat Justice League founder is always on the lookout for battles over farm animals in other cities. She directed me toward the efforts of Chickens In The Yard, or CITY, in Salem, Oregon, 45 miles south of Portland. The group used Che Guevara-inspired chicken propaganda, along with a chicken rap video (below), to win the fight to raise chickens.

I asked Grant if she had any words of wisdom for officials in Minneapolis.

“Get goats if you don’t want everybody moving over to St. Paul,” she said. “They’re going to be fleeing with their goats behind them.”

(Photos courtesy of the Goat Justice League. Chicken image and video courtesy of Chickens in the Yard)

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