Groups push Minneapolis to get goat-friendly - New York News

Groups push Minneapolis to get goat-friendly

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The city of lakes may be far from green, country pastures, but a new barn-yard neighbor may soon be able to call Minneapolis home because a group is pushing to bring goats to urban backyards.

Some say they make great pets, and are a great source of dairy products -- but others envision a day when city-raised goats could become a local source of meat. A few years ago, the city of Minneapolis cleared the way for keeping chicken coops and honey bees in town -- but goat's haven't gotten the go-ahead just yet.

It's already legal to own goats in St. Paul, but some Twin Cities residents say the Capitol's sister city should know that they do best in pairs.

"This is Willie and that's Nog," Rita Davern said as she introduced Fox 9 News to her two pets.

For 8 months, Davern spent one day a week with a local goat breeder before picking up her pair. City ordinance requires homeowners to get approval from everyone within 150 feet, but all of her neighbors were on board.

"It worked here," Davern said. "I'm sure there'd be places where it wouldn't."

Minneapolis is currently one such place, but several local groups -- including the Minneapolis Goat Alliance -- are pushing city leaders to allow the hoofed animals to settle in there too.

"It's a lot of responsibility to take on," Adam Alring admitted. "We're not encouraging everyone to go out and get a goat tomorrow."

City Councilwoman Alondra Cano represents the 9th Ward, and she plans to bring up a measure to try out the idea in the next few months.

"We want to start with a pilot project and learn from those lessons," she said. "Then, see how we can scale up."

Lucas Clapp, 16, has been raising Charlotte and Luna for milk production along with his chickens. He says his two Nigerian Pigmy goats are even better than dogs.

"The main cause for concern was the noise, but as long as you have water, food and some attention, they're pretty good," he said.

Yet, although residential grazers are becoming a growing trend in urban agriculture, opponents worry the animals could become a nuisance.

"Making sure neighbors aren't being harmed by the smell or the sound of goats is going to be among the first priorities for adopting regulations," Russ Henry, of Home Grown Minneapolis, predicted.

While it's currently illegal to slaughter anything other than fish in Minneapolis, Cano also sees that changing one day.

"In Worthington, Minn., you slaughter cows. In Willmar, Minn., you slaughter turkeys," she said. "So, in Minneapolis, we could eventually see a place where cultural communities could have access to local fresh meats that are grown sustain ably."

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