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Indigenous goats at risk in Burren

category clare | environment | feature author Tuesday July 31, 2007 09:50author by Tommy Fitzgerald & commentariat Report this post to the editors

featured image
Who're they kidding?

From the Newswire:
Prompt action by some concerned locals in Co Clare and International groups in the past 48 hours has thwarted the plans of trigger happy types who were attempting an illegal mass cull of the Burren wild goat herd. It is likely that when the press and other attention has died down that they will try again so for anyone in the area who cares about what are now some of the last remaining indigenous goats in Ireland please look out and alert others if you see any suspiciously activity,

From the comments:
Is there a reason for the cull. The Burren is a haven for many rare plant types and if the aim of the cull is to prevent over-grazing, I can understand it..............

The wild goats of the Burren who were first brought to Ireland by neolithic farmers about 4,000 years ago and there is evidence some went wild soon after. this means that goats have been wild in this country longer than rabbits, hedgehogs or fallow deer...............

Still and all young goats[kids] are really good eating.They are great in a curry or roasted.Much healthier than beef or pork..........

_41010289_lyntongoats203.jpg

author by Cathalpublication date Mon Jul 30, 2007 09:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How is the Burren wild goat identifiable from a normal goat?

author by interestedpublication date Mon Jul 30, 2007 13:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is there a reason for the cull. The Burren is a haven for many rare plant types and if the aim of the cull is to prevent over-grazing, I can understand it.

This of course introduces the choice as to which animals are allowed to graze there; domestic sheep or feral goats? What kind of limits on domestic grazing already exist?

author by Tommy Fitzgeraldpublication date Mon Jul 30, 2007 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The wild goats of the Burren who were first brought to Ireland by neolithic farmers about 4,000 years ago and there is evudence some went wild soon after. this means that goats have been wild in this country than rabbits, hedgehogs or fallow deer. they have interbred for years with the domesticated goats dumped on the hills, however there is a genetic difference between these old indigenous goats and the domesticated ones and the gene pool is still presumably present in the herd.

In the past five years, many have been culled and numbers have decreased dramatically. Some farmers complained that they knocked down stone field walls and destroyed pasture. With the implementation of the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPs) and the obligations it places on farmers to preserve their lands including the dry-stone walls, the goats were a threat to subsidies. However less and less farmers are grazing their animals on the Burren and this is leading to dramatic changes. Many are now realizing that the presence of the goats in controlled numbers may help to preserve the unique qualities of the landscape and prevent scrub encroachment.
A grant of 4000 euro was recently awarded to the Irish Wild Goat society don't seem to have a web presence but they probably know more about it than I do.
See the link for an article by Dick Warner about the goats.

Related Link: http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2006/08/07/story10162.asp
author by Goat hunterpublication date Mon Jul 30, 2007 23:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The fact as mr Fitzgerald stated is they are wild and do not belong to anyone,therefore they are anyones property who cares to take them.Neither are wild goats protected under the Wildlife act 1976,and are therefore classified as vermin.Plus the only trigger happy types that can shoot in the Burren are either farmers who reside there.And referring to them like that will grauentee sure protection for your precious goats.Or Dept of wildlife rangers,who are entitled to cull this pest that is destroying the Burrens nabitat. Still and all young goats[kids] are really good eating.They are great in a curry or roasted.Much healthier than beef or pork.

author by Tommy Fitzgeraldpublication date Tue Jul 31, 2007 08:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I like a goat curry as much as the next man, great meat . .... however the last illegal cull that happened left goats to die and be eaten by crows and foxes. I personally feel that controlled culls should happen periodically but what what was being proposed was a mass wipe out of every last goat.

author by Goat hunterpublication date Tue Jul 31, 2007 09:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Or whom was proposing the mass cull?Farmers,or Dept of Enviroment? If it was DOE . I am not surprised,they havent got a clue how to manage anything,including the national red deer herd which is a complete mess.So it wouldnt surprise me that they would order a wipeout of Burren goats.

author by Catladypublication date Fri Aug 03, 2007 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

" an illegal mass cull of the Burren wild goat herd"

ie: the trigger happy types, whoever they may be, were acting ILLEGALLY

"some of the last remaining indigenous goats in Ireland"

would indicate that there aren't actually that many of these little guys left, which make it doubtful they are "destroying" the burren by overgrazing.

So, if the original article is accurate, the goats are causing no major ecological destruction, and their killing was not sanctioned by any state body.

author by Goat Hunterpublication date Fri Aug 03, 2007 23:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are plenty of these four legged greenery demolishers up there.Maybe IF you animal lovers and DOE would actually Do somthing about them getting out of control.Maybe there wouldnt be any illegal culls or trigger happy types shooting them.Bar me of course,but then I only shoot kids,as they are the best eating,and I refuse to see a good meat supply going to waste.

author by Catladypublication date Sat Aug 04, 2007 19:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Do you?

author by Goat Hunterpublication date Sat Aug 04, 2007 20:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Legally..As they have NO open season or protection under the wildlife Act 1976.They are effectively vermin which can be hunted any time of the year.Albeit tasty vermin.

author by Another Goat Hunter................publication date Sun Aug 05, 2007 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The laws of Ireland haven't changed regarding wild Goats and so it is still legal to shoot wild goats on lands with the permission of the farmer who owns the Shooting Rights. Only one incident has been reported to the Gardai concerning two individuals who shot rifles off their jeep while on a public road and in doing so killed two pedigree goats and wounded three others which later had to be put down. Unfortunately, while the Gardai have two people under suspicion, not enough evidence to prove their case. Most hunters have the permission of the farmers to shoot wild goats which are grazing their patches of grass in herds of up to two hundred as was recorded on at least two visits to one farmers lands, but fortunately the hunters arrived too late as the goats had moved on to lands which no permission had been obtained at that time. The permission was later granted and a few shot from the herd and the rest moved on for the time being. Most culls necessitate the females being removed which would eventually lead to reduced numbers but most hunters only shoot the big males as it seems the females are too easy to approach.................the males are a bit more wary and can move out of range and learn to disappear when confronted.........quick learners.
No on has mentioned the 2000 goats taken from the Burren one year after the outbreak of Foot & Mouth along the border and relocated to the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth to replace those shot during the "scare". Maybe this has had an affect on some areas not having as many goats roaming the farmers lands and not blaming the hunters who are an easy target.............excuse the "pun".

author by Leo Curran - The Kerry Bog Pony Co-operative Society Ltdpublication date Mon Aug 13, 2007 21:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Without a national conservation organisation with a co-ordinating role between areas the native goat population is destined to become extinct. The skeletal remains of goats were found in some abundance at Lagore Crannog near Dunshaughlin and Tara in Co. Meath. It was a habitation site in pre-Christian and early Christian times. The crannog was known to William Wilde in late 19th century and was excavated by Henken in 1935 (published in 1955 by Royal Irish Academy) and the site effectively destroyed in the process. Reports from the Comeragh Mountains indicate that Coillte may have been responsible for the elimination of much or all of the goat population in that area. Would a spokesperson for Coillte like to comment?
The native mountain goats in Kerry have a traditional connection with Puck Fair which is claimed to have started in pre-Christian times. Extermination of the native goat in that area would have a serious adverse effect on the traditional festival. The construction of new houses and ornamental gardens at the foot of the mountains near Glenbeigh and Killorglin has created a situation where goats are very unwelcome on some areas of private property. One possibility is to secure a herd number and ear-tag as many as possible of the young goats each season. On reflection this is not a good idea. The notion of one person or a local committee claiming ownership of a wild goat population that roams the hills and fails to respect boundaries is somewhat outlandish. A more promising approach is for those with ornamental gardens to surround their properties with solar-powered electric fences to keep the goats out and for trigger-happy locals to acknowledge the long established presence of the goat in remote areas and refrain from shooting to extinction.
King Puck will be on display with other Rare Irish breeds of Cattle, Sheep and horses and dogs at IVERK Show at Piltown, Co. Kilkenny on 6th September.

author by Shannon watchpublication date Sat Aug 18, 2007 21:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In recent times a heard of two-legged indigenous goats in the Mid West have become an endangered species.
They include Aer Rianta cabin crew carrying plackards at a recent protest proclaiming "Hands off our Slots". Also included and even more endangered are the Mid West Fianna Fail Goats, especially Willie Cromwell O'Dea, Tony Kileen and Timmy Dooly and a host of Fianna Fail councillor goats. They have proclaimed that the Aer Lingus abandoning of Shannon to Heathrow route will lead to catastrophy due to the economic blowback etc etc.
These are all the same goats that have been feeding for the past five years on the US military and CIA stop-over at Shannon. They have consistently justified Ireland's and Shannon's participation in the Iraq war for local Mid West economic reasons, and there has been no mention of any catastrophe resulting from this Fianna Fail decision. The Iraqi dead, destruction of Iraqi jobs, infrastructure, etc etc have been of no apparent importance.
A somewhat different strain of endangered Mid West Goats are the group of prominent clergy from three different denominations who announced that the Aer Lingus decision was immoral, but who have seen nothing wrong over the last five years in the killing of over half a million people in Iraq.
Perhaps I am being too hard here on real four-legged goats.

author by S Walshpublication date Mon Aug 27, 2007 21:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have just received word from a friend who is part of the Goat Preservation Society, that the goat cull is going ahead. Already thirty goats have been killed today, and the farmers are intending to exterminate the rest in the next couple of days. As soon as I hear any more details, I'll post them.

author by suzi fpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2007 00:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. the "farmers" are herding them into trucks and taking them to private land to kill them
(the reason for the cull is ignorance and cruelty)
2. it IS illegal to kill them in the national forest where they live
3. there are only 570 of this breed of goat left in existence after today's cull
(the question how are they identifiable from a "normal" goat: there are many breeds of goats. i can only suppose that a "normal" goat to you would be one that you have seen before, lessin' you are city folk)
4. it is mating season which means that any nannies on the truck will be raped so that when said "farmers" get to their destination many goats will already be violently dead
5. if you want goat meat there are better ways of getting it than this!
(in reference to
"they are wild and do not belong to anyone,therefore they are anyones property who cares to take them.Neither are wild goats protected under the Wildlife act 1976,and are therefore classified as vermin.Plus the only trigger happy types that can shoot in the Burren are either farmers who reside there.And referring to them like that will grauentee sure protection for your precious goats.Or Dept of wildlife rangers,who are entitled to cull this pest that is destroying the Burrens nabitat. Still and all young goats[kids] are really good eating.They are great in a curry or roasted.Much healthier than beef or pork."
IT IS ILLEGAL TO KILL THEM IN THE NATIONAL FOREST THERE. THE FARMERS ARE CARTING THEM TO PRIVATE LAND TO SHOOT THEM AND THE POLICE "CAN'T BE BOTHERED" TO STOP IT. SO A SPECIES ON THE VERGE OF EXTINCTION BECAUSE IT IS WILD SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO EXTERMINATION? WHAT? VERMIN? 'YOUR' PRECIOUS GOATS? THEY ARE THE WORLD'S HERITAGE. WHEN WILL WE STOP BEING SO ARROGANT?
and i fully second this
"there aren't actually that many of these little guys left, which make it doubtful they are "destroying" the burren by overgrazing"

It isn't as if these "farmers" are going into the forest for a legal cull of an overpopulated pest. They are taking the scarce number of a particular breed of goat ILLEGALLY onto private land. The main problems are that the police won't help, these "farmers" are ignorant, and while Ireland may have not made it illegal to kill these goats on private land (NOTE: THEY ARE IN A NATIONAL FOREST, NOT ON PRIVATE LAND!) isn't there something called ETHICS? Do we only do things simply because government and law tells us to do so or not? Can we not think for ourselves?

author by suzi fpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2007 01:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

just got the word from a member of the preservation society.... only 12 were captured! thanks to the wiley goats themselves knocking out of their pens and their dedicated friends who are dedicated to their survival...

Remember: If the farmers succeed in killing these goats it will mean the extinction of a species. Difficult to understand why the cull is being allowed to happen by authorities in this day of attention to the environment and conservation.

Contrary to being a pest these goats are actually protecting the Burren habitat. The goats keep all the grasses bushes and scrub down by grazing so that the very rare flowers and fauna exclusive to the Burren can survive as well.

The idea that these goats are vermin is a total misunderstanding and or falsehood. The farmers are motivated by two reasons: 1. the outer walls of their farms are being knocked down by herds of goats, any goats, not this particular breed, mind you... if their walls are knocked down they don't get their EC grant... rather than just rebuild the walls as they did for hundreds of years they choose to kill these innocent animals... 2. the man behind this cull is a cattle trader who is doing this for money... selling them for halal meat or general butchers....

author by S.Walshpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Last night, I was talking to a member of the Burren Goats Preservation Society, and he told me that he was being allowed by the cullers to select good examples of the Burren goat to keep for breeding.

He is going to create a 'Heritage Herd' out of the goats saved, to enable that bloodline to continue. He said there is a distinct type of goat that lives on the Burren, it has been diluted by interbreeding with local domestic goats, but he is still able to see the older type also.

I thought that by alerting the media to what was going on, that I would be helping, but he said that at this time he needs the co-operation of the cullers so he is allowed to save what goats he can, otherwise they might not allow him access...

I'll post more as I know, he is writing to me with more details...

author by Goat hunterpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry Suzie F
,your story reeks of falsehood. There is NO NATIONAL FOREST in the Burren!!!

2] As it is Coilte property,Coilte have the final say on wether somthing can or cant be hunted on their lands.So go and bleat at Coilte if you have a problem wiyh a ligitimate culing of vermin. Which proably Coilte is in favour of as goats are totally destructive of young plantations of trees.

3] 570 of this breed???.Ever hear the expression as "randy as a goat??" That is more than enough to keep the goat pouplation assured for the next century!! They breed..well..like goats!

4] How do you suggest getting better goat meat?Buy from an abbitoir???

The Worlds Heritage!!!And YOU accuse me of being Arrogant????? YOU are the paragon of arrogance to suggest without ANY PROOF WHATSOEVER that farmers are trucking goats to private
land ,etc etc,rant and rave,to shoot them.It sounds so ridicilous yo be totally unbeliveable.
Fair dues to the Gardai not to get involved in this nonsense!They are totally right.Coilte is totally right and proably said to go ahead and get rid of this pest and so are the farmers to shoot this VERMIN on their lands.
If you have a problem with it go and change the law.IE the wildlife act of 1976,not come on here with hysterical bleatings and ravings of which you have not shown one shread of factual proof.
BTW the worlds heritage as you call it is responsible for more destruction of farmland and natural wonders than mankind ever was.Yes we can think for ourselves,and ethics ,are subjectative.Your are not mine and vice versa.
As for the second nonsensical post. If the walls are knocked down they dont get their EU grant.
Sorry Suzie,it is a REPS payment!Secondly you obviously have never had to rebuild a drystone wall,or heard in a flock of sheep that might have escaped thru it and have scatterd to the four winds.Farming in the burren is tough enough without having to rebuild willfully dsestroyed walls every other day/week by goats.Next you are accusing somone of making a profit.Good on him,at least he wont be leaving rotting corpses around for you to lament over.Plus you dont know much about Muslim dietry laws either,which makes your claim about Halal very dubious. an animal must be bled out ,by having it's juglar cut whilst still alive.Also a prayer must be said by the butcher,usually a Imman whilst this is happening.If this is not done the flesh may not be eaten by the faithful.So unless this "cattle dealer" is hunting with a bunch of devout muslims.it is not going to be Halal meat is it???

author by dr moreaupublication date Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

to a panel of experts rather than parliament or public opinion, who for some reason find the idea of what is endearingly called cross-species research - but which is in fact human animal or animal human hybrid chimera material - we see an opportunity for ireland to make it big on the biotech scene.
let the brits do their alien hybrid abducted cow and crack baby experiments to stop alzheimers. we can do goat people. ours will graze at higher altitudes and this time our biotech products won't kill you like mary harney's stab at the elan drug company.

do socialists have a policy on this yet - i wonder.

author by Caprine Scene - Caprine Farmerpublication date Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With the shortage of good dairy goats going on, being that we can't bring them in from the UK at the moment. due to the diseases, and the high value on the milk and meat - again -because same are harder and harder to get, whilst I realize that it may be important to keep a "original wild herd", can any of these goats be used to breed up? I paid 100 euros for a 2 week old dairy kid, and a yearling is about 300-400 euros. Is this a possibility?

author by Siobhan Walsh - nonepublication date Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:35author email siobhanmulroy at hotmail dot comauthor address Kerrykeel co Donegalauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I am concerned that the wild goats on Kerrykeel hill have also been chased or removed. Kerrykeel is a small hamlet/village in Donegal a few miles from Portsalon and Milford Town. These beautiful wild goats roam the hills above the village. They very seldom come to low ground and can be seen in the distance. They vary in colour and size but move together. Is there anyway of preserving their lifestyle and habitat?

I have not seen the goats this year and I am a bit worried about this!

author by Cianpublication date Mon Sep 22, 2008 22:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The wild (or feral) goat is distinguishable from the introduced species simply by colouration and physical apperance. The indeginoes (forgive my spelling) goats have a much thicker coat and vary in colour ranging from black brown and greys. The introduced goat is predominantly white. Besides general physical apperance, their genetic make up is quite diffrent from one another making them almost seperate species

author by Aussie Goat Ladypublication date Mon Mar 15, 2010 02:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why isn't someone farming these goats.
Breed them up, sell them for meat when numbers are too great.
If this is not possible get them exported somewhere where they will be preserved until your laws change or the powers that be start to think that they should be looking after them.

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