Since the 1980s, the number of goats slaughtered for their meat has more than quintupled, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Many of those goats are killed not in mass slaughterhouses but in quiet ceremonies on farms and in back yards.
It’s a niche market that farmer Brian Schiner discovered accidentally. He has now become something of an expert on religious and ethnic slaughter rituals, adapting his business to serve a foreign-born clientele.
During Eid al-Adha, the annual Islamic Festival of the Sacrifice, the line at Schiner’s farm stretches several hours long, including Muslims from four continents. Muslims slaughter animals at that time to recall the trial that Ibrahim faced when God commanded that he kill his son as a sacrifice — a story Muhammad ‘borrowed’ from the Jewish scriptures.
Other farms have shied away from such rituals, in part because goat slaughter has become an unlikely subject of a post-Sept. 11 culture clash.