SPCA opposes the intensification and indoor rearing or tethering of goats for meat or dairy production. SPCA supports farming systems which allow goats a choice of outdoor environments with sufficient shelter, shade, and browse.
SPCA advocates that goats should always have access to scrub, woodland or pasture which allows for browse for as much of the year as possible. Shelter and shade must always be available for the animals. Goats should be able to carry out a range of species-specific behaviours, such as browsing and the formation and maintenance of preferred partner bonds. Tethering of goats is only acceptable for a brief period for the purpose of administration of medical treatment or for a veterinary examination or procedure. Goats must never be left unsupervised when tethered.
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.
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.
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 dehorning 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.
(see Disbudding and Dehorning of Cattle and Goats for more details)
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.