Goats

In Canada, goats are kept for meat, dairy and yarn (Angora and Cashmere) production. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada report that there are approximately 225,000 goats on 9,000 farms in Canada.

The number of goats bred for their meat has doubled in Canada since 1996; about 3.4 million pounds of goat meat was produced in 2014. Goat meat is called chevon and meat from their kids is called capretto.

There is also a growing demand for goat milk and cheese because of its lower lactose levels. In 2016, Canada produced about 57.4 million litres of goat milk.

Females are bred at eight months of age and milked for about a year. Baby goats, called kids, are either kept and grown for their meat, sold at live auction or used as replacement breeding stock.

The industry typically removes the small growing horns of kids with a hot iron before they are 10 days old to discourage fighting once they are older. Male goats are castrated without anesthetic before seven days of age. Goats also often have their tails docked and ears tagged without anesthetic.

Barn conditions vary depending on the farmer, although the trend is toward packing goats intensively together for a larger profit.

Goats can live 8-12 years but are slaughtered for their meat anywhere from three months to about two years of age. Goats raised for chevon reach anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds when slaughtered. Milk-fed kids reach 25 to 45 pounds when slaughtered, often for Easter and Christmas.

When goats reach their optimal weight, they are transported to slaughterhouses via transport truck. In Canada, adult goats may be legally transported up to 52 hours without food, water or rest, in addition to a five-hour food-withdrawal period. Transport is very stressful as goats are forced to stand packed into trucks with other goats in any type of weather.

The slaughter process for most goats involves unloading them from trucks onto shoots that move them toward an area where they are stunned. Although some goats are head-stunned by electricity, captive-bolt stunning is most commonly used. This device delivers a bolt or hard blow to the goat's head.

After stunning, goats are suspended by their hind leg as they move to the killing floor to have their throats slit. They are then bled out and processed for their meat.