America's Largest Township Goes To The, Er, Ah, Goats?
Now she's gone too far. All the way to Nigeria, in fact. [Kate, you got that e-mail from the Nigerian Minister, too?]
Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate Murray, already known for putting pets before people through the now infamous Adopt-A-Pet program [heaven fordid the Town should adopt a crumbling roadway], has done it again.
Dozens of Town workers -- landscapers, laborers, those who keep our local parks neat and trim -- will get the boot. Decent, hard-working Americans (and good, cloth-coat Republicans, one and all), replaced, at the drop of a grass clipping, by Nigerian goats.
Yes, Nigerian goats. Foreign nationals, eating the weeds and grazing on American soil at the Town's Levy Preserve, where U.S. workers would daily toil for maximum wage (this is the Town of Hempstead, after all, where laborers DO collect $100,000 a year).
Have we no goats in America?
To add insult to injury, the goats, no doubt illegally brought into this sovereign state without documentation (are there no illegal Mexican goats?), are not only Nigerian, they're babies.
Baby goats! Mere infants. Whatever happened to child labor laws in this country?
Shame on you, Kate Murray! Taking away American jobs, from Republican Committeemen, no less, and in these most trying economic times.
Saving the taxpayer money? [Goats: $1000 a piece; goat handlers: $250,000 a piece.] Lowering the Town's carbon footprint? [Hardly, with those printing presses laboring 24/7 in the basement of Town Hall.]
Not to worry, says the Supervisor. No one ever loses a job at Hempstead Town Hall. Not even a chief investigator charged with 28 felonies. [Some eat grass while others eat crow, we suppose.]
"True, we're taking the park workers out of the Levy Preserve and replacing them with goats," said Murray. "At the same time, we're replacing the geese and ducks that inhabit our parks with Republican Committeemen."
Great. Now, we'll really have to watch where we walk!
As for the unassuming baby Nigerian goats, they will likely be placed within a "moveable fence" (not unlike that which graces America's southern border) as they feast on the tall fescue.
"Think of it as the Town's answer to Guantanemo," said Congressman Peter King, dismayed over the use of foreign labor, yet impressed by anything that involves a fence.
And while the goats do the work of many men (and child laborers. Don't forget about the children) -- some of whom, out of a job, will now be eating dog food -- Town Councilman Tony Santino ponders, "Do you think County Exec Tom Suozzi could be replaced by a horse?"
The horse might well "enjoy" a stint as County Executive, Tony -- and let's not forget about the horse's other end -- just as Town of Hempstead homeowners will soon enjoy both benefits and higher property taxes in the form of a newly created Special Goat Herding District. [The care and feeding of goats under local control. What could be better than that?]
Meanwhile, back at Levy Preserve, the goats reside in "miniature houses" at the park, no doubt most anxious as to their first assessment as they await receipt of the dreaded Statement of Taxes.
Then again, homeowners elsewhere in Hempstead Town will soon have a convenient excuse for not making out a check to Don Clavin, Receiver of Taxes -- The goats ate my tax bill!
Imagine that. Goats mowing the lawn at Town of Hempstead parks. What next? Goats eating trash and garbage (as they typically do) at the Town's Sanitary Districts, replacing commissioners, supervisors, patronage appointees, and their respective family members?
Hey, wait a minute. . .
- - -
From the Town of Hempstead:
Mares Eat Oats, Does Eat Oats & Little Goats Control Weeds: Miniature Goats Used for Vegetation Control at Hempstead Nature Preserve
They show up every day to work, never complain and they are tireless in performing their job. Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilwoman Angie Cullin have unveiled nature's best weed control at the Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve. Goats -that's right, Nigerian dwarf goats - are being used as an environmentally responsible method of eradicating brush, weeds and other vegetation overgrowth at the park. Murray and Cullin were joined at the unveiling by Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and Ms. Robinson's third grade class from Norman J. Levy Lakeside Elementary School in Merrick.]
"We were looking for a way to control vegetation overgrowth that was in keeping with our nature preserve's mission," said Murray. "Lawn mowers and line trimmers emit greenhouse gases, and herbicides can pollute nearby waterways. Adding these goats to the town's workforce is an effective way to control weeds and it's environmentally responsible."
The four doelings (female) and one buckling are the size of puppies now, but will grow to about 50 pounds. Although extremely gentle, the animals will not be part of a feeding or petting exhibit. Visitors who tour the park will, however, be given a presentation on all of the park's features, including the new livestock.
The control of mugwort, phragmites (bulrushes) and weeds will be accomplished in one of three methods. Goats can be tethered by line, restricting them to an area in need of weed control. They can also be contained in areas needing attention with moveable fencing. Finally, the herbivores can be tended on leashes by trained handlers.
The goats, which cost just over $1,000, complement a flock of insect eating fowl known as Guinea Hens. The birds, which are indigenous to North Africa, have been a resounding success in the control of ticks at the preserve. In fact, there has not been a single tick incident reported at the facility in the four years since the fowl were employed as a nature-friendly insecticide.
"Kate Murray and I are building a legacy at this preserve that is environmentally sound," said Cullin. "Controlling insects and weeds with friendly animals that are in harmony with the preserve is a victory for neighbors, visitors and everyone who cares about the planet."
The goats reside in miniature houses in a goat colony at the park. Named for the seven dwarfs, the diminutive "weed whackers" include Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy and Doc.
"I encourage nature lovers, hikers, bird watchers and anyone who wants to learn about how we've converted a former landfill into a nature preserve to visit the Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve," concluded Murray. "We're building a better planet for our children and future generations."