Earlier this month, our nation was captivated by a story about 118 escaped lawn mowing goats roaming a residential neighborhood in Boise, Idaho. Local TV news reporter Joe Parris tweeted photos and videos of the goats prowling front lawns and munching on landscaping. His tweets quickly went viral, and soon ended up in a New York Times story about the whimsical incident. A week later, the New York Post, among other outlets, reported on a “rogue goat” who helped a herd of livestock, including other goats of course, escape from a New Jersey auction house. Here was another set of goats we could all root for, just like the goats chewing through toxic weeds as more and more goat lawn mowing services (some with city contracts) have drawn national attention.
But in 2018, we don’t just want to root for goats. We want to be with goats. Goat yoga — classes in which goats are present — was a rare novelty out of Oregon back in 2016. Today, goat yoga classes are newly available in New Hampshire, Kansas, Washington, Michigan,Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, California, and New York, among other states, with the owner of the “original” goat yoga business expecting to make over $300,000 in revenue this year. The trend is so saturated that goat yoga made it into a rum ad this summer featuring DJ Khaled and has spread all the way to the United Kingdom.
Golfing with goats is another activity a modern-day goat enthusiast can enjoy, as well as community engagement with goats, vacation retreats with goats, and, if you’re the president, avoiding paying property taxes on your New Jersey golf courses with goats. We all want to be with goats so badly, we are willing to risk our lives to take selfies with them. Why goats? Why not? The world is hell, but these adorably demonic creatures keep on delivering.
Indeed, this American cultural goat obsession must seem odd or quaint to much of the world. While the demand for goat meat is increasing in the US, consumption is nowhere near the levels of countries like China and India. Goat meat is a culinary staple in cultures throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Asia, Africa, and basically everywhere south of Texas, meaning goats are better known as livestock than therapy or golf companions. For American urbanites and suburbanites, goats are more like cute playthings that we need to incorporate into our lives, like pets and mascots. A goat cafe will probably open soon on an urban farm near you, if it hasn’t already.