Food and the World – The Domesticated Goat – Migration, Family, Animals – by Elijah Ortega Trimble. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
For my research project I am focusing on the modern domesticated goat, an animal which holds importance to my family. The domesticated goat is the offspring of various types of goats, mostly from Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is now the most commonly found goat in the United States. Goats have been an animal documented as being domesticated as far back as the Neolithic Period, and being low maintenance animals which provide, pelt, meat and milk many early civilizations would capitalize on this cash ‘cow’. It wasn’t until the Spanish conquest that the goats most commonly found in the United States were brought over from Eurasia to the Americas. Goat meat is relatively inexpensive and for the middle to lower class Mexicans it quickly became and continues to be an extremely viable source for meat.
For as long as I can remember my family has raised goats. From the first goat we raised from his birth, bottle feeding him everyday, to his very last days and his burial, I have always had a love and respect for them. After that first goat and the knowledge of how to care for him my father began to seek out numerous goats of all shapes and sizes. There would be many days in which I would come home to my father unloading goats from the the back of his 2008 Toyota Rav 4, mind you a vehicle not suited for carrying such animals, and I would sit there contemplating the motives.
I remember the first time my dad proposed to us the concept of eating one of these pets, I was quite young and not sure I grasped the entire situation, so I had no opposition and was all for the idea. However, my older brothers were not so thrilled. I remember hearing my eldest brother plead to my father to not kill any of our goats, but to no avail. My father had told us that much of his family was coming to town and we were to host a gathering at our home, as it is not often our family visits the United States. Being that our family is quite a large one the task of providing food for everyone has always been an arduous task. Suddenly the reasoning behind my father’s harboring of goats became clear, they weren’t there to be pets, they also served the purpose of sustaining our family. Eventually my brothers got over the fact that we were eating the goats that we helped raise for months, and began to enjoy the various ways in which the meat was prepared. Goats can grow quite large and provide an abundance of meat so for this reason they were perfect for our family to raise. From tacos to ‘caldos’ my family would make sure no part of the goat went to waste. It became almost tradition that goat would be the staple meat at many of our large family gatherings, as it was affordable and fed everyone. Now every time I hear that we are to butcher one of our goats, rather than simply feeling down about the situation for the goat, I am also filled with the excitement and nostalgia of getting to see family members and enjoy the day with people I truly care about.
From Professor Liang’s Fall 2019 Politics of Globalization class. Elijah is a student of GCL and Spanish.
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