“We’re going to do this forever,” the strident protester told a frustrated audience member at the goat-sausage cooking demo at the 2015 Goat Fest in San Francisco. “Until all animals are free.”
The annual Goat Fest, known affectionately as “Goatchella” nick-named after the Coachella music festival in Southern California, is held at the city’s Ferry Building Farmers Market on the Embarcadero. The event, sponsored by the non-profit CUESA, gathers chefs, food fans, and tourists who love goat cheese, goat-themed music, goat sausage, goat milk, goat meat sandwiches, goat soap, and just plain old goats.
Thanks to social media Goatchella skyrocketed in popularity and now enjoys some 16,000 visitors to the event. According to SFGate it appears that a vast amount of them come to pet the baby goats. On Saturday by 10:30 a.m., the waiting line to pet a goat approached two hours. And goat lovers don’t seem to mind.
Hannah Bosley admits that she has an “obsession” with the hill climbing creatures. Bosley considers that the amount of time she is willing to wait in line to pet a goat is a “value judgment and that scale will always be tipped in the favor of baby goats.”
But, not all who came to “Goatchella” were there for fun. The Direct Action Everywhere and the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy activists were there on business. Chanting loudly, “For the animals we fight! Exploiting goats is not right,” they disrupted Chef Stewart-Streit’s sausage cooking demonstration.
The protests prompted the audience and chef to laugh at the activists, but they grew weary after 15 minutes when Stewart-Streit decided to just hand out his goat sausage recipe and shut down the demonstration.
At a nearby vegetable stand a man in a red Goatchella T-shirt picking out some tomatoes reacted to the goat-activists. “It’d be one thing if they were protesting Foster Farms,” he asserted. “But the goats they are using for that sausage are from Marin and live pretty great lives. Those goats live better than us.”