SPCA supports farming systems that provide goats with a Good Life where they experience positive welfare and their physical, health and behavioural needs are met.
SPCA supports farming systems which allow goats a choice of outdoor environments with sufficient shelter, shade, and opportunities to browse. SPCA opposes permanent indoor housing without access to pasture.
SPCA advocates that goats should have access to scrub, woodland or pasture which allows for browsing for as much of the year as possible. Shelter and shade must always be available for the animals. Goats should have the opportunity to carry out a range of species-specific behaviours, such as browsing, climbing, and the formation and maintenance of preferred partner bonds.
(See ‘Social Bonds’ for more information)
SPCA advocates that goats are kept in stable long-term groups throughout their lives.
Goats are social animals who should be kept in stable long-term groups throughout their lives, with natural weaning, whenever possible.
(See ‘Tethered Goats’ for more information)
SPCA supports the farming of naturally polled goats, achieved either through selectively breeding or genetic technology, as this would eliminate the need to disbud or dehorn goats. Where there is a need to prevent horn growth in non-polled animals, SPCA advocates for animals to be disbudded rather than dehorned. SPCA opposes the dehorning of goats.
Our organisation advocates that disbudding and dehorning should only be performed by a veterinarian or a veterinary student under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. If disbudding does take place, it must be carried out with appropriate medical care provided prior to, during and after the operation and include anaesthesia and analgesia.
Disbudding goat kids poses greater risk than disbudding calves due to a higher risk of brain injury, lower threshold for pain and sensitivity to commonly used anaesthesia agents.
(See ‘Painful Husbandry Procedures’ for more information)
SPCA opposes the use of laparoscopic artificial insemination (AI) techniques, particularly when these are carried out without adequate and appropriate pain relief.
Laparoscopic insemination is an invasive surgical procedure. Where it is performed, this must only be by registered veterinarians. Operators using AI techniques have a responsibility to maintain and regularly update their knowledge of advances in the field.
(See ‘Selective Breeding and Genetic Technologies’ for more information)
SPCA is concerned about the production demands placed on dairy goats.
Our organisation advocates that anticipated levels of milk production should be balanced against, and be consistent with, the good health and welfare of the goats. Genetic selection and management practices to increase production levels should not be such that this is detrimental to the goats’ welfare or leaves them with metabolic deficiencies that result in poor health outcomes or do not enable them to perform their natural behaviours.
SPCA acknowledges the importance of shearing for the welfare of sheep and other farmed species selected for fibre production.
(See ‘Shearing (including Crutching and Dagging)’ for more information)