“Goats were the first animals raised for food that were domesticated by humans 9,000 years ago,” writes Participant Media researcher Sarah Newman in this article examining the impact of goats on the world’s food supply. “Currently, two-thirds of all red meat eaten worldwide is goat meat,” common fare for a few billion people currently inhabiting or with roots in Africa, the Middle East and South America, she notes.

According to Newman, culinary interest in goat dishes in the United States is on the rise by consumers who “are responding well” to the taste or nutrition benefits of goat meat and dairy products. Dairy goat industry sources assert that goat’s milk contains more calcium and vitamin B6 and vitamin A than cow’s milk, and is lower in calories and more digestible for those prone to lactose intolerance. But the challenge to farmers is keeping up with the demand. “As more chefs incorporate luscious goat dairy on their menu and others add goat meats to dishes and sandwiches, demand for these products will increase,” Newman writes. “While some might be wondering what the fuss is all about, this is not the latest nouveau cuisine: goat is here to stay.”

In a related development, the increasing demand for goats was chronicled in a recent newspaper article titled “No kidding: Goats are in short supply as demand for meat rises.” Kansas City Star reporter Rick Montgomery points out that “the sad truth is the United States, despite its agricultural riches, must import 750,000 goats yearly from places like Australia.” He writes that “as the nation’s ethnic population rises, so does demand for what some call chevon—that’s goat meat. Many immigrants like it, especially on holy days.” See The Kansas City Star, March 14, 2010.