Statement On Live Animals In Forthcoming Production Of Goats
Goats is a new play by Liwaa Yazji in which Syrian families whose sons are killed at war are replaced with live goats by the local government. The goats are a major part of the vision, story-telling and images in this extraordinary play, and we have committed to delivering the writer’s vision by engaging a small herd of live goats for the duration of the 5 week run. As with all of our animal practices we have researched, collaborated with and taken advice from professional welfare bodies (RSPCA, vets, Defra), and instilled best practice to ensure the welfare of the goats is paramount throughout the process. We are whole-heartedly committed to operating within the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at all times.
We have engaged Animal Actors to work with us in sourcing, protecting, licensing, delivering, supervising and caring for the herd of 6 goats that we will work with during the run.
We have prioritised a stress-free environment and experience for the goats. The breed and age of the goats we are using has been chosen to ensure the goats’ ease and comfort within the stage environment. These are mix breed goats (Saan cross, Guernsey cross and Nubian cross) who are comfortable being handled, and who are often engaged in public human interaction (at farm parks, childrens’ parties etc). They will have had 6 weeks of preparation and induction, including meeting the cast and attending rehearsals and the theatre.
We will thoroughly check all of the necessary insurance documents, vehicle license, risk assessments, stock holding numbers and performance licenses held by Animal Actors and required by Defra regarding the ownership, maintenance and transportation of the goats. We feel very confident in their professional welfare and best practice procedures.
The goats are housed in an excellent environment with Animal Actors, with access to shelter, clean water, food, space to roam and companionship. The owners are highly experienced animal owners and handlers who have been in business for over 40 years.
The goats will be transported daily to the theatre where a fenced passage will guide them into a custom-built shelter and pen in our alleyway. At the end of the show they will be guided back onto the transport and returned home. We will create an environment backstage that is free of hazards and risks for the goats and we are delighted to embrace the chaos that they may throw at us. Other than gently guiding the goats on leashes for scenes in the play, there will be no tethering or coercing of the goats at any stage.
The stage means that there is no risk of the goats crossing into the auditorium. All offstage and onstage areas will be safe for their curious mouths and climbing instincts.
We have a vet available to us throughout the run and Animal Actors staff are fully trained in the aid and welfare of the goats.