Goat, the Ethical Red Meat

Advocates say you should give it a try.

Goat Ragù with Fresh Spaghetti. Photo © Antonis Achilleos
Photo: © Antonis Achilleos

Despite the international prevalence of goat meat—it makes up a whopping 60 percent of red meat worldwide—the ingredient hasn't become a staple of supermarket shelves, until now. According to The Independent, the popularity of goat meat is on the rise due to its widespread availability and ethical production practices.

One major advocate for eating more goat has been James Whetlor, founder of Cabrito, a company that sells the meat of more than 10,000 kids a year from the dairy industry that would have otherwise been wastefully slaughtered after birth. Whetlor distributes to a number of popular restaurants across the U.K. and takes pride in reducing needless animal waste one transaction at a time. The former River Cottage chef saw this wastefulness happening first hand during his days in the kitchen. "All farmers have wanted to find a solution," to tossing the excess goat meat, Whetlor says, "and having been a chef and working at River Cottage, I was in a unique position to provide it."

This waste problem stems from a disparity between the demand for goat dairy products—including cheese and milk—and their meat. It is estimated that upwards of 40,000 male goats are wasted in the U.K. each year because of low demand.

"In today's world it's becoming less and less acceptable to have waste at this scale," Whetlor says. The chef notes that unlike many kinds of red meat, goats are typically treated well during their upbringing, and says, "I haven't bought one goat from a farm I haven't personally visited."

One such farm is the family-owned Bere Marsh Farm, where owner Fiona Gerardin raises her goats ethically and organically. On Gerardin's farm, goats are weaned by their mothers and let out to graze daily until about six months old, when their meat is fatty enough to consume. "They've had really good lives and it's important to me that they're well looked after up to the last," says Gerardin, who sells the meat on the farm's website and in-person from their farm house.

Whetlor, Gerardin, and the many chefs cooking more and more with goat, hope that by creating amazing edible experiences around the prevalent meat, they can change the culinary perceptions of hesitant Britains — and reduce a ton of needless waste in the process.

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