(To go to the beginning of this story, please click here.)
Two weeks before that Fateful Saturday in January, we had adopted a precious miniature goat.
Since we had given our beloved Oberhasli dairy goats to a dear and trusted friend who was looking to grow her dairy, we felt that having a tiny sweet baby dairy goat on our farm would provide just enough goat milk to continue making my goat milk soaps in our small family business. Not to mention, even if it was to be a small amount of milk compared to our previous ranch, I missed the taste and health of raw milk. I (and some of my children) seemed to be slightly intolerant to ultra-pasteurized milk that is typically found in Colorado grocery stores.
On the day we adopted “Angel,” she was 8 weeks old, weaned from her mother, and robust and healthy. She had a lot of personality and bright clear-blue eyes. We fell in love with her instantly. I took a picture of my daughter holding baby Angel on that clear, cold day in January. Another dear friend of mine, a talented artist in Colorado Springs, asked if she could paint that picture. She told me that it stood out to her, that she could see meaning behind it…. She wanted to name it “Scapegoat,” symbolizing an innocent angel carrying an innocent pure goat…. A “goat” (or person) that may be sacrificed unnecessarily, but still protected by the angels.
I’m not sure if my friend knew the name of the baby goat, but she (and I) certainly did not know what would transpire less than two weeks later. Her words were eerily prophetic…. And after that fateful Saturday in January, I related to my beautiful friend that her painting was now iconic.
Not only was my baby goat stolen in the farm raid that day, but she was sold to the highest bidder that same day. If she (or any of my animals) had been unhealthy, they would not have been sold, but rather quarantined and would have stayed at a shelter or “Humane Society” for months, and sometimes even a year until they are healthy. The lambs were all sold within several days.
Yes… And under their ‘ad’ was a reference to a ‘rescue.’ That ad broke my heart. They even posted a video of Angel bouncing around in someone’s kitchen, and they didn’t even know the correct genders of the goat or the lambs. And if they “loved” animals, surely they would know that the animals themselves missed their farm, their “family” (us), and didn’t want to live in someone’s kitchen as a cat or dog would do.
Either way, there was something, or rather someone, being sacrificed in that ordeal. And that ‘someone’ would be the hearts of myself and my children, above all.
I believe in animals’ rights to be treated with kindness, to be well-fed, to be kept warm in the winter, to have proper husbandry (or vet care when necessary); and for them to serve their purpose, whether that is to be providing companionship (like our cats and dogs), for us to ride on and for them to graze our fields (horses), for us to have wool to keep us warm (sheep, alpaca, yaks, etc…), for us to have milk (dairy cows and goats), for us to have eggs (our hens)… We provide them shelter and food, and they give back to provide for our family. It’s a wonderful and wholesome life, the small family farm.
As for all life, I raised my boys to not even aim a slingshot at a song bird. Animals have a purpose and they are part of Creation, and we must never unnecessarily kill them or abandon them. For the record, I’m not a vegan. I happen to love meat, even though I now believe that if you are going to eat chicken or beef or lamb, you should see how “it’s done,” and see if you are still ok with it. I have newfound respect for those who choose not to eat meat, because I developed an intense respect for animals and the process of “taking a beloved turkey to the butcher for Thanksgiving” after I raised them and knew them by name. After we had moved to our smaller farm, I had decided I would no longer raise them for meat, but rather for eggs and wool.
I wonder how many individuals who stormed my small farm that day had bacon for breakfast, or were going to chow down on a fast food burger or chicken sandwich for lunch…
I wonder if they knew that by what and how they stormed our small and innocent farm, that they had put aside human life (ours) in exchange for animals that they might eat on a Greek Gyro without so much as a second thought.
I wonder if they knew how animals are typically treated on huge farms, or whether they cared.
I wonder if they saw what I saw when I re-entered my home after the raid that day… that at the front window were gathered all my children, tears streaming down their faces in silence, while I had no explanation to give them.
I wonder if they figured that we were too small, too “unimportant,” too “insignificant,” that they could get away with jeopardizing the livelihood and joy of our family, our income source, our innocence about the “system” (even though we knew all the laws for our county regarding farming practices…)
I wonder…. I wonder if we were a “Scapegoat” for an agenda much larger, and much more sinister than we could have imagined…
It was time to investigate.
(…to be continued…)