satyr

Image: Aaron Sims

In the big scheme of things, pygmy goats wouldn’t seem like a subject that would elicit a lot of controversy.  They’re undoubtedly cute little animals, and videos of them are abundant on the Internet.  The secret about pygmy goats, however, is that there are people who go full metal jacket against “city folk” (me, for one) that are against them being raised in backyards.  Goats, no matter how “miniature” they might be, are livestock.  They belong on farms. Backyards are not the places to raise them, no matter the reason you want them.

I dared speak my mind about the subject, and immediately became the subject of a crusade by the “goat people”.

Background:  A Visalia resident had some miniature goats in her backyard, in violation of city ordinances. She was raising them for milk, since she was unable to produce breast milk herself, and didn’t want to give her infants cows milk or baby formula.  Someone informed the city, and they told her she was in violation of city regulations regarding livestock.  You’d think the city demanded she get rid of the babies, rather than insisting she follow city ordinances, just like the 130,000+ other Visalia residents are required to do, and remove the goats.

The “goat people” have begun what in their minds must be a crusade-level battle against the city.  They’ve framed the “battle” as food freedom fighters up against dictators on the city council who refuse to bend to the will of the citizenry.

From the “I’m pro goat” website the “goat people” have set up:

This movement is not just about owning pets. It’s not just about asserting homeowners rights to privacy and property. This is a movement that encompasses food freedom, freedom of self-reliance, and freedom to provide for your children with superior nutrition.

Since the City didn’t cave, and agree to change the ordinance,

this ballot initiative has been drafted because the city’s elected officials are refusing to represent the people they are sworn to serve

apparently missing the notion that city leaders were doing exactly what they were supposed to do, that is representing the best interests of the majority of citizens.  This group seems to believe that what they think is acceptable is how the city should operate.

They don’t take kindly to disagreement.

I made the following comment on a Facebook post by the Visalia Times Delta, regarding an article on their website:

Tulare County is 4,800 square miles. Visalia is 32. Pick a spot in the county to raise your goats and chickens, and leave those of us who don’t want farm animals over our back fence in peace!

Well. You’d think I’d suggested killing kittens, from the tone of the responses I received! You can read about them at my Alternating Currents blog, here. Some comments were lost due to a technical glitch at the Gannett site, but included some rather nasty invective directed at me for opposing goats (and the included chickens in the ballot proposal filed with the City). The mildest was that I was a “sad, little man” for my anti-goat, anti-chicken, and anti-freedom stands. Here’s my best “sad, little man” face.

sad_man The “goat people” even tried to get the Visalia Times Delta to remove my blog from their site, accusing the newspaper of violating journalism ethics and standards by having me on staff.  Apparently clueless about what a “community blog” is, the constant public assault on both myself and the newspaper itself resulted in the Executive Editor, Pete Wevurski, writing an explanation. Part of that explanation:

Jim Reeves has posted his blog, “Alternating Currents,” on VisaliaTimesDelta.com since the inception of the VTD’s “Community Blogging” and has observed all established rules of posting and engagement. As he explained several times in this comment string, he is not an employee of the VTD, is not compensated in anyway by the VTD, gets no editorial direction or oversight from VTD editors and is not censored by VTD editors. It’s his blog; we provide only a platform for it. The VTD has provided the same platform – “Community Blogging” – for a number of others since its inception; Jim is the only blogger who has stayed with it

Here’s a screen capture of the demands:

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Wevurski also said:

An editor here who regularly reads “Alternating Currents” assures that although Jim IS opinionated, he has never written anything that even remotely skirts violation of libel law and other journalistic guidelines of fairness and good taste.

So much for the “kill the messenger” tactic.  It seems the Times Delta rather likes my blogs, and have no problems with them. The blog about the reactions to my comment had a large readership, hitting #5, then #3 on what I call “the best sellers list”, the top articles read online.

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I’ll continue to write my blogs, speak my mind, and generally be a pain in the backside to those who brook no dissent from their own views.  Most of my blogs the past few years have been LGBTQ related, and will probably continue to be so, but I will also throw out commentary on any subject that strikes my fancy, goats and chickens included.  I’m bhaa-aa-ad that way.

I’m certain the “goat people” will not be happy with the news.

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