Billy goats gruff: the pain of castration and disbudding
The male kids at Upper Enson Farm were also being sold for meat, which meant they had to suffer the pain of castration. Viva! filmed two women casually lifting baby billy goats and placing a rubber ring around the base of their testicles so the blood supply was cut off and the testes would slowly shrivel and die. The government’s Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) describes this procedure as causing “pain and distress” and urges it be used as little as possible. At the very least, it pleads for pain relief to be given. It wasn’t in this case. We also filmed female kids being ‘disbudded’ by having their horn buds burnt out. A worker holds a baby animal over her lap, pushing the kid’s neck into her leg as she forces the heated device down into the skull. The little creature struggles and cries. Kid after kid bleats and screams as each is subjected to this painful mutilation. Goats are active, inquisitive, capricious, unpredictable, flighty, impulsive and whimsical. The word capricious comes from the Latin for goat (capra). It is shameful that these highly intelligent, playful, endlessly curious animals are increasingly being factory farmed. Delamere Dairy sells goat milk products to almost every supermarket in the UK, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Coop, Budgens, Asda, M&S and Whole Foods. Not only do they claim to have exceptionally high animal welfare standards but also make some pretty grand health assertions!