Impact of Goats

Five Amazing Facts about Goats

Humans and goats have enjoyed a close relationship for thousands of years. While goat milk dairy is just starting to enjoy widespread popularity in the U.S., the rest of the world is already in on the secret. There are about 1 billion goats worldwide and more people in the world drink goat milk than milk of any other species.1 Impress your friends with these little-known facts about dairy goats and their impact around the globe.

ORIGINS OF YOGURT

The origins of yogurt date back to 5,000 BC, when the people of Mesopotamia are thought to have combined fresh milk with sour milk, noting its pleasant taste and the fact that it didn’t spoil at ambient temperature.2

GOATS IN MYTHOLOGY

Among the first domesticated animals, goats are a common character in western mythology. Like many mortals, the Greek gods were nourished on goat milk. One famous goat allegedly provided suckle in a cave to baby Zeus. Hippocrates, the early Greek physician, routinely prescribed that his patients should “Go to the mountains and drink goat milk!”

EARLY AMERICAN COLONIES

European settlers who came over on the Mayflower brought goats with them. Goats are recorded in a 1630 Jamestown census among the colony’s most prized possessions.

A MEDITERRANEAN DIET STAPLE

The longevity of people in many cultures has been attributed to the consumption of goat milk. In Sardinia, Italy, where people routinely live to 100, goat milk is a staple.

WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

In developing countries, raising goats can empower women as income earners, improve food security and nutrition, and even challenge gender norms. Aid projects in Uganda, Guatemala, and Afghanistan have all demonstrated the transformational power of goats.

1 Park, Young W. “Goat Milk—Chemistry and Nutrition.” Handbook of Non-Bovine Mammals, edited by Young W. Park and George F.W. Haenlein, Blackwell Publishing, 2006.

2 Fankhauser, David B. “Making Goat Milk Yogurt.” Dairy Goat Production Handbook, edited by R.C. Merkel et al., American Institute for Goat Research, 2016.

YOUR WORDS

“I like your plain yogurt too, but I absolutely love your vanilla yogurt. To me it tastes as good as ice cream.”

– Sandy, California