Retired pygmy goats that once entertained children at a Stanley Park petting zoo appear to have been slaughtered for their meat.
Vancouver Park Board officials on Monday returned to a hobby farm in Langley, B.C., run byTrevor French, who adopted 17 goats and four sheep from the Children’s Farmyard in January, 2011.
“I was very distressed to learn of the alleged mistreatment of several goats and sheep adopted out to a local farm,” park board chairwoman Constance Barnes said at a news conferenceSunday.
“I have also directed our city solicitor to take aggressive legal action” against French.
Parks board spokeswoman Joyce Courtney told the Star on Monday that staff had believed there were four goats left at French’s farms when the SPCA inspected on Friday, but they’re no longer sure.
“All of the animals we saw were well cared for,” SPCA Vancouver spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk told the Star. Whether any were retired petting-zoo goats “would be very hard to discern.”
Vancouver Parks and Recreation set out stringent requirements for anyone adopting petting zoo animals after the city closed the attraction in 2011because of a $3 million budget shortfall. The chief requirement was that they not be sold and be allowed to “live out their natural lives.”
A Vancouver Sun investigation, however, found records from the Fraser Valley Auction house showing French brought in 15 pygmy or smaller goats last year for sale.
Auction house owner Ken Pearson told the Sun: “all the wether (castrated) goats are meat for sure” because they wouldn’t have been bought as pets. He identified the goats as former petting-zoo animals from photographs.
French told the newspaper that the horned goats were nasty and he had to get rid of them. He denied any had been sold at auction, and saying they were sold or given to friends. The four sheep died, he said.
Barnes also ordered an investigation of the well-being of all animals — cows, pigs, donkeys and a pony, as well as goats and sheep — that had been farmed out to B.C. families after the petting zoo closed.