Everything I do is ultimately motivated by family. I’ve been fighting for my miniature goats – my daughters source of milk, since I am unable to breastfeed – on the “appeal to city council” level up till recently. But I have decided I need to take my community activism a step farther after an encounter I had a few weeks ago., Earlier this month, I started a Political Action Committee (Urban Farmer for Food Freedom) after I had this face to face discussion with the City Council member of my district, Bob Link. Here’s a quick rundown of our Q&A:
Q: Do you intend to look into the issue of miniature goats in the city some more and educate yourself on the issue?
Q: Would you vote in favor of miniature goats in they were known to abide by all preexisting animal ordinances?
Q: Are you willing to compromise or find common ground together in our efforts to legalize miniature goats in the city?
Q: If the majority of Visalians wanted miniature goats legalized, would you then do your job as an elected official and vote the values of your constituency in favor of goats?
A: No, because I personally don’t like goats. That’s my opinion and that is my job, to vote my opinion, and it’s not changing.
I think Link needs to realize that simply “not liking” something does not give you the right to infringe on your neighbors right to privacy and property and food freedom.
It actually seems frightening and disturbing to me that someone with such an exaggerated and skewed view of their job description and authority has been sitting on Visalia City Council for 16 years. Why doesn’t Visalia have term limits in place to protect the city from “career” council members only interested in voting their personal values and scratching their friends backs instead of following the rather simple job description of representing the individuals in their districts??? But I digress!
When Link elaborated on his dislike of food producing animals in the city, he made the rather unusual comment that, “When Visalians buy a $450,000 house, they want to know that they won’t be living next to anything they don’t want to.” This right here, more than anything, confirms my suspicion that the primary argument against goats is classist in it’s nature, and that we have some extremely out of touch council members who do not know, care for or even understand the problems, struggles and desires of the average Visalian.
It’s precisely this kind of class discrimination (civilized people just don’t LIVE among goats and chickens, you see) that makes the concept of raising your own food just foreign to this guy. In what I’ve come to call the “let them eat cake” argument, (“Just BUY the milk / eggs / cheese” or “Just go BUY lots of land in the country if you want to save money by growing your own food!”) people like Link who throw that drivel around either just don’t care or genuinely just don’t understand that some people could cut their grocery bill down and actually make their mortgage payment this month if they had the freedom to raise their own food on their private property.
While food producing animals certainly benefit those in financial straits, they also make wonderful and educational pets that abide by all preexisting animal ordinances, AND they are a great hobby for anyone in any walk of life. They are just as relevant companions as a dog or a cat. The concept that food producing animals are a frivolous revolt of the underclasses that needs to be squelched by the well-to-do is just unbecoming and laughable when you consider that major cities like San Francisco and San Diego where the average median cost of a house is $700,000 ALLOW MINIATURE GOATS IN THEIR CITIES!! Keep in mind, the average median cost of a house in Visalia is just $162,000… a far cry from the “$450,000 homes” Link pictures when he takes a stand against the goat loving underclasses he seeks to crusade against.
But even if we all lived in the neighborhoods our council members think we live in, we’re still no San Diego! We are an agricultural community and we need not be ashamed of that! Goats in the city won’t drag us down or diminish our quality of life.. it will actually ENHANCE the lives of those in our community and encourage and foster a spirit of self-reliance and self-sustainability that our communities sorely lack due to outdated and overbearing ordinances like the one I’m currently fighting!
These little munchkins are why I’m taking on a corrupt and morally bankrupt City Council on a whole new level!
We concluded our meeting with Link telling me, “I understand exactly what you’re going through and I sympathize with you.”
Yes Link. I’m sure you understand exactly what it’s like to have your body fail you and leave you unable to provide milk for your tiny developing child. I’m sure you understand exactly the painful sense of inadequacy and self-esteem destroying disappointment that a mother feels when she is left with a scarred chest that cannot nourish or suckle her precious children. I’m sure you understand exactly what it’s like to have to be a physically disabled mother of a newborn humbling herself and asking other women if they would be so kind as to spare even so much as a drop of breast milk for her little ones. And when breast milk donations aren’t plentiful, I’m sure you know exactly what it’s like to be struggling to make ends meet, and have to choose between paying the mortgage or giving your child superior nutrition that is not GMO laden high fructose corn syrup.
I’m sure you also understand what a financial and nutritional Godsend my two milk producing pet goats were to me and what a therapeutic outlet these creatures are to a young mother who cannot produce breast milk, finally being able to provide for her children the best that she can. I’m sure you understand what it has been like to get up at the crack of dawn to milk goats twice a day for my children, and tha
nk God each morning that He has provided me with these amazing, gentle, milk producing animals. You clearly understand how I found solace and healing in the thought that God has granted me two hands that work when other body parts have failed. And of course, you no doubt know what I’m going through when these precious animals that do so much for our family and mean so much to my daughters, were senselessly and needlessly torn from me because people like you “just don’t like goats”.
It’s clear that you “understand what I’m going through” and “sympathize with me” when you place YOUR personal and baseless bias against a useful and harmless animal above MY right to feed my children.
That’s Good Samaritan kind of compassion right there, when someone would sleep better at night knowing that his neighbor struggling to feed her daughter doesn’t have a goat, instead of fighting for the distraught woman deprived of her private property that was breaking no ordinances and harming no one and existed solely to be a loved pet and a little girls primary source of nutrition.
As I’m sure you folks can tell, I did not feel as though Link respected me during our discussion. I feel that he did not take me seriously, that he spoke condescendingly to me and that he did not see me as an equal – even chiding me as if I were a child at one point. But considering that he graduated high school the exact year that Disneyland was built and seems to be stuck in the 50’s era when he was working in a men’s clothing store at the same time men’s clothing ads like the ones below ran in magazines, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Link felt he knew what was best for me and the I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head over things like what I can provide for my children and what my child can and can’t eat on my private property.