Who could ever hurt a kid? They've got such cute little faces, sound just like a lamb when they bleat, and love to romp around the yard like children. Sadly, many baby goats are forced to undergo a painful medical procedure that leaves two painful holes in their heads.
When Lawson was brought to Goats of Anarchy, a New Jersey rescue group, they instantly saw something was wrong. First off, Lawson's back legs were malformed and he would need a double amputation. But Lauricella, the founder of the organization, was horrified to see that his little horns had been removed.
“I was so angry and upset,” Lauricella, told The Dodo in an interview. “It’s just a sweet little innocent baby. How could they think of doing anything besides kissing that head?”
Lawson's original owner brought him to Goats of Anarchy after she could no longer care for the special-needs goat. Beforehand, she brought Lawson to the vet, who convinced her she needed to have him "disbudded."
This practice began in order to prevent goats from entangling their horns in wire fencing, as well as to protect other goats and the farmer from injury. It's done by holding a hot iron to a young goat's born buds in order to remove them.
Lauricella explains: "It's an extremely hot iron, and it smokes, and after they do it, you smell the burning skin and the burning hair smell for awhile. [The goats] scream...It's mutilation and it's torture."
Little Lawson had no need of being dehorned because he wasn't a farm goat - he was a pet who required special care due to his condition. However, the vet pressured the unsuspecting woman into agreeing to the procedure, and she was horrified when she saw Lawson afterwards.
"I'm supposed to be his protector, but I didn't know," she said.
Luckily for Lawson, Goats of Anarchy is giving him the very best of care. He will have a special wheeled-cart to help him to walk after his surgery. Lawson's horns may not grow back for a while, but Lauricella decided to outfit him with baby clothing and warm hats.
The results are adorable!
Many agree that the practice of dehorning is unnecessary and harmful to a goat's health. According to Lauricella, the horns are more than just for show. "Goat horns are full of blood vessels, and that's what helps them regulate their body temperature, so that's what helps them stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter," she said. "When you take those away, you're messing with their bodies."
What do you think? Should vets stop disbudding goat kids or is it needed for farming?