Following up on our story about the hilariously absurd use of goats to mow the lawns around Google’s headquarters instead of lawnmowers, we were able to get a comment from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA is okay with letting the goats be goats (eating grass and looking cute), but they have some major concerns about how they’ll be treated in doing these tasks.
Says Amy Cook, an Assistant Manager of Marketing for PETA:
PETA has no problem with letting goats do what goats want to do (e.g., look cute and eat weeds), but we do have concerns about how the goats may be transported, whether they are provided with access to shelter during storms and shade as well as water during hot weather, where they are housed when they aren’t “working,” what kind of veterinary care they receive, and what becomes of old and/or excess goats. PETA has found over and over that whenever animals are used by a business to make money, corners are cut and animals often suffer as a result. And that really gets our goat, if you’ll pardon the pun.
You think Google, with its “don’t be evil” mantra, would be kind to the goats. But then again, they have been cutting food supplies to employees during tough times, so you have to wonder if the goats would be left without an ample supply of water as well. Also, veterinary care seems like one of those goat perks that might be on Google’s cost-cutting checklist.
But you never know. I’m going to reach out to Google for comment.
Update: And here’s the response from Niki Fenwick, a Google representative:
Google takes the wellness of our employees very seriously and we pride ourselves on having a responsive and adaptable culture. The lawn-mowing goats are not, of course, full-time Google employees – but we would certainly respond directly to any concerns about their treatment. I can confirm that during their time in Mountain View, like other Google employees, each goat is entitled to a free organic lunch.
Love me some organic salad, hope the goats do too.