Goats eat their way through New York park

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. bucolic / byuˈkɒl ɪk / (adj.) – of or relating to the countryside and the life there

    I wanted my children to experience bucolic life, so we left the city when they were young.

  2. munch / mʌntʃ / (v.) – to chew food, especially in a noisy way

    It’s nice to watch a movie while munching on popcorn.

  3. weed / wid / (n.) – a wild plant that grows where it’s not wanted, such as in a garden or field

    When was the last time you checked the garden? It’s full of weeds!

  4. invasive / ɪnˈveɪ sɪv / (adj.) – spreading very quickly, especially in an unwanted way

    Scientists are concerned about the large number of invasive species in the lake.

  5. chow down on (something) / ʧaʊ daʊn ɒn / (phrasal v.) – to happily eat a large amount of something quickly

    The kids were chowing down on pizza at the party.


Read the text below.

Two dozen goats from a farm in a bucolic part of New York state are on a city outing — let loose in Manhattan’s Riverside Park on July 14 to munch on invasive weeds.

Phones out, spectators crowded around fences and counted down as the hungry black, brown and white goats were herded in a ceremonial “Running of the Goats” to begin their task as natural weed whackers.

“They chowed down on Japanese knotweed, they noshed on porcelain berry, they snacked on multiflora rose, they easily traversed the hard-to-reach terrain behind me and gulped down poison ivy without even giving it a second thought,” said Dan Garodnick, Riverside Park Conservancy president and CEO.

“Putting them to work in ‘Goatham’ is like treating them to an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s healthy for the goats and it’s good for the environment. That’s farm to table.”

Of the 24 goats, five will call Riverside Park home until the end of August, eating their way through 2 acres of the park. (Reuters)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Two dozen goats were let loose in Manhattan’s Riverside Park to munch on weeds. What do you think of this solution (ex. strange, smart)? Should cities in your country try the same? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Horses are commonly seen in Manhattan because they pull carriages for tourists and are sometimes used by police. Do you think it’s okay to bring animals like horses and goats into urban areas? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The goats were brought in to munch on invasive weeds. Are invasive plants and animals an issue in your area? What, if anything, do you think should be done about them? Why? Discuss.
  • Some gardeners battle every weed that appears, while others feel that there’s nothing wrong with having a few weeds. How do you feel about weeds? Do you often see weeds in your area? Discuss.