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Plan for urban goats gets going, kid you not

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A group is looking for the go-ahead to allow city-dwellers to raise goats in Minneapolis neighborhoods.

It's already legal to raise goats in the city of St. Paul. Now FOX 9 reports that the Minneapolis Goat Alliance has begun the push to bring the animals to backyards there. Newly-elected city council member Alondra Cano, who represents the 9th Ward and its high concentration of immigrants, told the station that she plans to introduce a measure to float the goat idea.

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

While some may want goats for pets, most who would raise them would want their milk, and someday the animals could be a local source of meat. While it's currently illegal to slaughter anything other than fish in Minneapolis, Cano thinks that could change. "In Minneapolis, we could eventually see a place where cultural communities could have access to local fresh meats that are grown sustainably."

In July, KARE broadcast a story on the growing appetite for fresh goat meat. The story quoted the owner of Holy Land Deli who said he sells the meat of more 60 goats eveyr week. U of M livestock specialist Wayne Martin told the station that the number of goats being raised in Minnesota has dramatically increased in the last decade. He said the animals are relatively cheap to maintain and reproduce like clockwork.

Last summer, a pack of more than 100 goats was released on the grounds of the Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount. The animals were brought in to clear weeds on five acres of the property.

Using goats as an environmentally friendly alternative to chemicals or gasoline-powered machinery has caught on. The Nanaimo Daily Times reported that goat owners in Nanaimo in British Columbia this week presented a plan to the town to use change bylaws to allow the goats to be used for municipal weed control.

The city of Minneapolis already allows residents to raise bees and chickens. Last September, the Star Tribune published a story about how the backyard chicken movement is spreading to the suburbs. While both Minneapolis and St. Paul have a permitting process for chickens, coops in the suburbs have been slower to arrive. The story said communities including Centerville, Circle Pines, Farmington and Eagan have come up with rules for those who want fresh eggs produced by their own hens.

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