Yesterday, on the last day of its residency at 1 John Street, the John Street Pasture featured grazing goats. People came by to visit, pet, and take selfies with the adorable living creatures... but around 4:30 p.m. (90 minutes before they were scheduled to depart) the goats were swiftly herded into a Halal truck.
There were a lot of hands in this project, which was created by artist Andrea Reynosa as a contribution to a larger art exhibit called FOODshed at the nearby Smack Mellon gallery. Because of that, a lot of different answers were given once reporters came asking about the fate of the goats. The only response we received yesterday evening came from Brooklyn Grange, sent to us through a rep for Madani Halal. That said: “All goats, even dairy goats, are eventually slaughtered for meat production. This is the nature of our food system and one of the issues that this project set out to highlight. The 5 goats in our installation are being donated to a local educational farm, and will continue to live a happy life at pasture for years to come. Madani Halal has been a great partner on this project—they helped source and transport the goats for us, and they are an excellent local business specializing in sustainable meat distribution and processing here in New York City."
Today, the Brooklyn Paper recapped the answers they received from those involved, which included that the goats going back to the slaughterhouse and "moving on to the next chapter of their lives," and then denials: "they’re not being slaughtered... they’re going to be donated." SO WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?
George M. Tsiatis of Group 113, LLC told us it was "me and the Grange that were the folks that knew about" the goats. So he clarified some things to us this morning:
"The 5 goats in the John Street Pasture installation have been saved. They are being donated to a local educational farm, and will continue to live happy lives at pasture for years to come. They were a lively and bright spot for the installation as it came to a close and served as a fun punctuation mark for a great art project. Everyone found them endearing and enjoyed their presence which is what led to the decision to save them. Madani Halal sourced and transported the goats for us, and they have also been helpful in seeking out an appropriate next home for the goats."
When we asked if this decision was made only after yesterday's uproar, Tsiatis told us, "We had been considering options to find a new home for them in advance of the coverage. When they arrived on site and we saw the community reaction and the way people were engaging with them, we started exploring other avenues for them and ways to save them. The community interest and coverage accelerated the process so that we could provide everyone with the certainty that they would find a good new home."
Since a new home was not lined up ahead of time, this is all still being worked out, and nothing has been finalized yet.