can be a very touchy subject amongst "goat people". There
are many different sides to the "CAE story" and different
people have different opinions on this matter. The following is our
stance (and it is not the most popular one). It is my strong recommendation
that you research this subject thoroughly from a few different, reliable
sources and draw your own conclusions about how you feel on this matter
and how you wish to handle it for your particular situation.
at Fias Co Farm we try to raise our animals as "naturally"
as we possibly can in this day and age. We believe stress is a great
contributor to dis-ease. Much of the time, if you can eliminate stress,
the body can ward off illness just fine on it's own. One way stress
happens is when you alter the way the animal would have naturally
lived before man. Of course, you can not raise your animals completely
"naturally", but you can look at how they would have lived
before our interference and work from there. The more we "mess
around" with the animals, the more prone to illness they are
(and also the more work it is to raise them).
is not to say we never come in contact with our animals. We spend
a lot of time with them and they are all very friendly. We do not
give them food treats to "buy" their affections; we give
them love and compassion. In turn they love us back and want us to
touch them and be with them. We raise and treat all our animals with
the love and respect they deserve.
any of our animals do get sick, we treat them in natural ways, if
possible, but also take advantage of living in the 21st century and
use whatever medical treatments are needed to best help our animals
live happy, healthy lives.
are loving, caring, intelligent creatures. I do not believe that you
must bottle raise a goat to have it be friendly toward people. We
do not bottle raise our kids (unless absolutely necessary) and they
are as friendly as can be (see raising
friendly kids). What we do is spend time with them everyday from
the moment they are born. They accept us as members of the herd and
enjoy our attentions.
brings us to CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis), a nervous disease
in goats, first reported in 1974. It was originally named Viral Leukoencephalomyelitis
of Goats (VLG) but when it became apparent that arthritis could also
result from the same virus infection, the name of the disease was
changed to Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE). It has been
found that this virus also produces changes in the lung and/or udder
but the name CAE is still the name used to refer to this virus.
is believed that the most direct infection route for CAE is from mother,
to kid, through infected colostrum, body fluids, and milk. Because
of this method of transmission, many goat breeders practice "CAE
prevention". This practice entails removing the kid from it's
mother the moment it is born and bottle raising it on pasteurized
milk. This is so that the CAE virus can not be passed from the mother
to the kid through the milk. It is this part of the practice, of taking
the kids from their mothers, which conflict with our personal and
religious beliefs. Yes, we agree that CAE can be a very bad and painful
disease, and we are not pro-CAE, we just cannot ethically "pull"
the kids from their mothers. Goat mothers love their kids, just as
you would love your own children. To take the kids away, not only
breaks their heart, it causes stress, which causes diseases to surface
due to stress.
also feel that raising the kid in an unnatural way (bottle feeding)
causes stress. Kids need their mothers to love them and teach them.
Without their mothers they become stressed, thus causing disease.
Pasteurizing milk kills bacteria, and yes, it will kill the CAE virus,
but it also kills the beneficial bacteria in the milk. Without this
beneficial bacteria, the kids immune systems do not become as strong
as it would on raw milk. Pasteurizing "cooks" the milk.
We believe that kids especially need "uncooked" colostrum
to get a proper start in life. This cooking destroys much of the nutrients
and vitamins in the milk (please read:
raw milk info). Also, we have found that kids that have access
to their own mother's milk as they are growing up, grow bigger and
stronger, and are hardier and more disease resistant as adults.
drawback in trying to eliminate CAE from your herd is that there are
just a few blood tests to find out if a goat has CAE, all with varying
degrees of accuracy. These tests, test for antibodies to CAE. If the
test comes back positive, it does not necessarily mean that the goat
has CAE, it means she possess antibodies to the disease. This only
means that at some point in her life she was exposed to CAE, it does
not mean she has it. CAE is like HIV; some people can have it and
live a long normal live, and some people can have it and develop AIDS.
The goat can have the CAE virus, but they may never actually develop
the CAE disease. There may even be a possibility that this goat has
a resistance to the disease and could pass that resistance on to her
kids. Also, not all CAE-infected goats produce antibodies, thus "false
negatives" in testing is possible.
with tests, and practicing CAE prevention (pulling kids, separating
CAE positive animals, etc.), there is no way of guaranteeing that
a herd is totally "free" of CAE. You can only know if a
herd has recently tested negative to the antibodies. Goats have been
known to be raised in a totally "free" herd for many years
and all of a sudden, as many as seven years later, "revert".
Any goat can "revert" at any time.
started our herd with just a few does and bucks have "bred
with these animals. After years of breeding and holistic husbandry,
we now maintain a "closed" herd. Meaning, we no longer
bring in animals from the outside and we also do not let our goats
our property (we do not show). We do this because we have no signs
of illness in our herd and do not wish to bring in any. We do not
test for CAE, but are aware of the symptoms (see
below). If any of our goats were to start showing signs, meaning
they actually had the disease, and not just the antibodies, we
act according to what was necessary. There is no known cure in Western
Medicine for CAE and we would treat the goat in Natural and Alternative
ways to try to cure her illness (see below).
If that did not work and if the goat were in pain and was suffering,
we would humanly relieve that goat from his/her suffering. If we
had a doe that showed symptoms of CAE, we would never breed
them because we would not want to risk them infecting their kids.
are those who would disagree with what I have said here. I have not
written this in order to convince you that I am "right".
I am just sharing with you my own personal belief. Everyone is entitled
to their opinions. With information gathered here, and also from various
other sources, it is up to you to make up your own mind.