no photos today. nothing pleasant to show.
This isn't a subject many will enjoy reading, and I'm not going to sugar coat it either. I went to the Land fill today to bury / dump / dispose (pick your word) a goat. Why? Various reasons... One of which was curiosity, the other cost.
When an animal dies what should you do? Bury it? Call a service to bury it? Have them remove it? Its a subject that sooner or later will come up. If you have a horse you really do need a plan. Or a backhoe and some serious logistics and land. or ability to get it on a trailer. Horses are huge and usually you might go thru this once in your life. And calling a service is particularly poignant at that time. But what about smaller animals- chickens, bunnies, small goats, burying in the backyard is doable (in certain parts of Palm Beach county it is allowed). What about when you have more then just a few animals? The more you have, the more you have to deal with this.
Most of my adult life, I have driven the highway and passing these landfills, smelled them, sometimes for miles before ever seeing them, but had never been to one. I'd never really understood it. Broward landfills from 20 years ago are now parks. There is one off of Davie and I-75. I wonder if the landfill off Sample is still there and what is it? Today, I went to the one off Jog Road. Right next door, it was interesting to see Ironhorse Golf and Country club. I'm curious how million dollar homes enjoy the smell. And yes, it was pungent. A smell that lingered and one that took a few hours to get out of my nose. This is just one aspect of todays experience.
Roman was my oldest wether, a pet, he died, and I just couldn't afford to call the remover who normally does this for me. Burying him wasn't an option this time, plus I just could not take the chance of hurting my back again, or worse not totally healed from surgery and creating other issues. It was time I bucked up and learn the not so happy part of dead stock. That saying comes to mind, "if you have livestock sooner or later you're going to have dead stock." And well..... what are you going to do with it?
When you get into farming, for whatever reason, this needs to be addressed. What are you going to do with the animals that die. Thinking that they don't die, or have years to figure it out, or that over time you can just keep burying them in the backyard, but lets be real, I'm on a bit more than an acre. If i only lose one animal a year that is 11 animals buried in the yard. And if doing this 20 years?
Living on a wetland canal, having my own well system, I wonder at times how OK that is. And just as I don't want to take any animal to a landfill, I worry for our ecosystem and how much my one acre plus can take.
Actually, the experience wasn't that bad. I would not recommend going unprepared for it. Or bringing the kiddos. I went alone in case I freaked out or chickened out, arriving early this morning when its cooler. Everyone on the site was pleasurable, helpful, and nice. It's possible they saw the fear in my eyes or guilt. That guilt a pet owner has that we must bury our babies like we bury ourselves or cremate and get urns and hold onto them forever. I've done that. Again, with farming and time, that starts to add up. It's just not reality.
What you do is drive into the 'landfill' part of SWA which is obviously the giant hills everyone sees passing on the highway, with lots of birds flying around it. The stench starts a mile down the road, but interestingly, dissipated by the time I was right on top of it. Its not a nauseating smell. Just unpleasant and everywhere.
The lady at the weigh in station takes your money. Depending on how much weight you think you are dumping. She asked me for $5. Its $30 per ton. So, right there in the inhumanity of it all the cost to dispose of one dead goat in the end cost $2. Once the animal is off the truck they weigh truck again, total lost 60lbs. cost $2. I was so upset with what I had just done that I didn't want the change back. But you must stop on the way out and get your receipt filed.
As I got to the area that said "Land fill 1", a man directs you to either the right or left. And up you go. To the top. It was the worst part of the experience. I'm a flat land Florida girl. I panic going over the Manuel bridge on 95 right outside of Vero. This was a steep incline with no safety rails. I see at the top huge dump trucks, if they made it up, so could I. The nice man at the bottom who I asked a million and one questions, promised me there was plenty of space up there to turn around. And there was.
What I wasn't expecting once up there were, it seemed, the thousands of birds flying around. And not just vultures, but all kinds. I even saw a few wood storks. You know, the ones on the endangered list. Its not nice up there. It's ugly. It's pretty gross. It smells. It's reality. I put my truck into 4WD and continued on to a space that was a bit open. Away from anyone driving. And there lies Roman. RIP sweet boy.
The best I could describe it is exactly what you see on tv. EXCEPT you are driving over refuse, and the ground was soft. Another immediate fear was I'd be stuck up there, all day, and would need to call a tow truck. My mind was wandering to other things except the task at hand. I didn't even shut the truck off. I got out. Opened the flat bed. Took the tarp and as gently as possible put him down. I had my boots on. I kicked as much fill and dirt around him as I could. Said goodbye, and then drove down the hill. It was bad but it wasn't bad.
I know he's is dead. I feel that his body is just a carcass. His soul has moved on. And by the looks of it he will be feeding a lot of hungry birds before they push some dirt over him. I'm not sure why we feel the need to respect the body up until the time it goes in the ground and the same thing happens. Devoured by creatures.
This wasn't anything i've ever experienced. It surely wasn't something I want to do again. But in the end, a possibility. When the remover is called you are paying him to do the exact same thing. And they charge $150. And now I know why. If you have the money to spend then that is something to do, avoiding the discomfort, shielding yourself from the experience. But, reality is some just don't have money like that to spend. and for me? this cost, this goat, my back, the healing this is what I needed to do. I make no apologies for it, and know that if I am in this for the long haul, it is something that will need to be done again.
Farming is difficult. This is just one part of it. And sometimes it's ugly.
Also, I'm in an ever evolving urbanizing area, one day burying might not be an option any longer. The cost to have it done for me. vs. the cost to do it myself well you do the math....
The fact that I could do it proves a few things, as well. I needed to do this. It's done.