The city of Salem, Oregon, learned a painful, smelly lesson this week. While it may "seem like an environmentally good idea" to hire a bunch of goats to eat up your unwanted plants—but guess what, it's impossible to tell the goats to stop pooping all over their workspace.
Salem's City Council, the Statesman Journal reports, rented 75 goats in October to trawl around nine acres of a city park and, theoretically, munch up the evil plants preventing other native flora from thriving. It was the alternative solution to driving around in a gas-powered lawn mower for a few hours, and even sounded a little fun.
And it wasn't a complete failure! Some residents loved the feeling of going to the park and seeing a bunch of goats just hangin' out, chowing down on some plants. Sounds kind of nice, honestly, until you see the city paid over $20,000 for the goats to do their thing (five times more expensive than the lawnmower method, the Associated Press reports), and, also, until you smell the piles and piles of shit left behind:
The city also had to deal with what the goats left behind, which was a "heavily fertilized area," said Mark Becktel, public works operations manager for the city of Salem. "If you know what I mean."
What Becktel meant was, according to a report from the city's public health department, the goats' poop yielded a "barnyard aroma" when the goats were present. (Curiously, no one in this article considers whether the smell might've just been Salem, Oregon's natural scent.)
Perhaps aborting this experiment when Salem did was for the best: The goats also ate a bunch of shit they weren't supposed to eat, like maples and hazelnut trees. Can't trust goats.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.