I was perusing the news last week and saw a story that I thought was ridiculous! Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, had a 15 acre area on their campus that was overgrown with weeds, poison ivy, and brush; just unsightly vegetation. The school discovered a solution to clearing out that area of land that was […]
I was perusing the news last week and saw a story that I thought was ridiculous! Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, had a 15 acre area on their campus that was overgrown with weeds, poison ivy, and brush; just unsightly vegetation. The school discovered a solution to clearing out that area of land that was unique: hire a herd of goats!
Munchers on Hooves, the name of a goat rental company in Coldwater, Michigan, arrived and the goats went right to work with a literal relish. They ate and chomped their way through all of that plant life and cleaned up the area. The school felt it was an environmentally safe choice as the goats could clear 3-5 lbs. of vegetation a day and leave behind natural fertilizer. The school was happy that the land was cleaned up. The owners of the herd were happy as they received a payment. The goats were obviously happy as they had full tummies! The school decided to keep Munchers on Hooves around for some more land clean up projects until the start of the new school year.
What should have been a nice story, even an educational story, has now ended in a grievance filed by AFSCME against the school. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union's local affiliate in Kalamazoo, when they found out about the herd of goats, filed a grievance stating that the goats took jobs away from human workers. A spokeswoman for Western Michigan's, who couldn't speak directly about the goat herd issue did reassure the public by stating that no workers at Western Michigan were laid off while the goats were munching away! One of the owners of Munchers on Hooves added that the 15 acres the goats cleared was very thick with vegetation and that the goats can clear up to 5 feet above the ground, so whatever they couldn't get at, human workers would now be able to go in and clear out the rest with more ease.
I began to think more about the goat herd hired to do this job. The goats probably went right to their task at hand. They didn't need to stop for cigarette or coffee breaks, they probably kept right on munching rain or shine. The goats did emit methane but no other pollutants as machinery would in clearing vegetation off of a 15 acre area of land. If one of the goats got injured, it didn't need to file for any workers comp. The only down-side to letting a herd of goats clean up this land was perhaps if one of the goats was onery and decided to chase a human who might be walking through their work area.
This lawsuit is silly, in my opinion, and I am hoping that the judge throws it out; he or she should let the goats have the paper it's written on!
Information for this blog post: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo July 11, 2017. Devereaux, Brad.