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No Free Goats

Our reporter—who earned a state-school bachelor's degree and has read/understood 50+ pages of 'Infinite Jest'—found out the hard way.

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I gave the mayor’s office a hard deadline. Racket readers needed to know about the alleged free goat program, and they needed to know by Wednesday.

In a Tuesday email subject lined “Free goat details,” I demanded the following information:

  • How much funding?
  • Where were the funds sourced from?
  • Which geographic areas?
  • How many TOTAL GOATS?
  • Where are the goats sourced from?

The recently viral goat poster, pictured above, even promised two personal goats from the city, an important distinction I, admittedly, failed to address in my email.

My reasons for believing, wanting, and, really, needing the goat program to be real weren’t unfounded. For more than a decade, local groups like the Goat Justice League have advocated for looser regulations around urban goat ownership. By 2017, it seemed the Minneapolis Alliance for Goats was making some headway with the city council, the Star Tribune reported. Backyard goats could provide eco-friendly lawn maintenance, advocates argued, and help meet a growing demand for goat meat. Hell, St. Paul allows ’em.

Having clearly established I’m a smart guy, let’s rewind to late Tuesday afternoon. A PR rep from the mayor’s office called me, introduced themselves, and then paused before asking with almost parental concern: Did you think the goat program was real?

So turns out the goat program poster is a stunt, pure fiction for gullible fools. It has nothing to do with the mayor’s office, a point the mayor’s office stressed.

I mean, come on, can you even imagine the optics of a Democratic mayor⁠—one whose city is beset by rising violent crime, killer cops, and appalling treatment of unhoused people—giving away goats as if they’re hard candies at a parade? Ha, ha, ha. Have I got a bridge to sell you—one with complimentary goats!

The good-natured PR rep jokingly suggested the possibility of several non-goat stories about the wonky, granular churn of civic government. I said call me when you launch a goat program.