January 15, 2011

there is no Evil ghost behind the horns of these goats

There is a strange moment in the Eastern Townships when the highway you are driving on, the surrounding land, the points of reference alter, becoming more wild, savage, clean and uncertain. Not everything feels exploited, the unexpected exists suddenly as if it were tangible, what is natural is more easily grasped.

A little on the outskirts of Sawyerville is the home of MariePascal Beauregard and Francis Landry and their artisanal goat farm Caitya du Caprice Caprin. Caitya means Temple in Sanskrit. I found myself not only in this temple of goats, but the temple of something humble. Marie Pascals was destined towards a career in mental health and then....that great change came. That great change some call a revelation, others call a mid life crisis or une prise de conscience. Their products are a simple selection of fresh cheese, and later this year will be adding some aged cheese to their product list. They used to sell meat, but as she explained, she is not a butcher, and there is only a select few people who eat it, as well as the milk. The clients will be loyal for a few weeks and then disappear, or only buy cheese. While there is not a large selection, what there is pleases. Ethics make up for a lot more though. As she took us to see their animals I noticed that all of them had horns. I have witnessed horn burning on the young leaving two burnt craters, and other methods. Almost all the goats I have seen in Quebec are hornless. Most say that their reasons are that they harm each other, pierce their bellies etc...it is for their own good. Is this not the same logic behind tail docking in pigs, debeaking in chickens? The issue is space. In the ten plus years that they have had their animals Marie Pascal tells me there has rarely ever been an incident. Two goats strike each other with their horns, another is busy rubbing their horns on a metal plate screwed to the wall. Doing what goats do....

There is no evil ghost behind goat horns. They are natural and healthy. The only evil specter is born of a certain human 'tendence' ,what we hate seeing in the more popular chickens and pigs...over crowded conditions.

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