A young family farm in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, is causing a stir among vegan extremists because of goat snuggles.
Family Farm Under Fire For Snuggling Goats
The Steinmetz Family Farm, an animal farm in Berks County that specializes in hosting petting zoos and goat yoga, posts regularly on social media and features their cute farm animals which has become quite poplar, garnering thousands of Facebook followers and millions of views on TikTok.
Justin and Lauren Steinmetz, owners of the Steinmetz Family Farm, were experiencing a new phenomenon as their business’ Facebook profile was flooded with negative comments for the first time.
The backlash was linked to their planned goat yoga and cuddling sessions at upcoming plant-based festivals in Pennsylvania.
Last year, the Steinmetz Family Farm began regularly hosting goat cuddling sessions with a rotating group of about 65 baby goats. Two sessions were scheduled for April at the Bear Creek Mountain Resort Vegan Festival in Lehigh Valley and the VegFest in Allentown.
Goat Snuggles is “Exploitation” Say the Vegans
When the upcoming events began advertising yoga and cuddling sessions at the upcoming plant-based festivals, things went downhill fast. Animal activists accused them of exploiting the animals for profit through petting zoos and similar practices.
Justin argues that because the Steinmetz Family Farm is using their goats for monetary gain, the extremists are labeling it as “exploitation.”
“I didn’t even see all the comments until I started keyword searching for things like exploitation,” Steinmetz said in a phone interview. “I was trying to delete comments. We’re not all about the stuff they [critics] were saying. We’re about the zen of goat snuggling.”
Once the backlash surrounding the Steinmetz farm’s festival appearances made its mark on social media, an organizer for Bear Creek Mountain Resort’s event told them they would need to cancel. Steinmetz later called VegFest to do the same.
“I know I’m not gonna change their [critics’] minds,” Steinmetz said. “Let them believe what they do, and we’ll believe what we do. Maybe the vegans will respect my decision to leave this event and leave us alone.”
The Snuggling Will Go On
“Fairs and festivals are one thing. I just don’t think vegan events are in our future,” he said.
The Steinmetz Family Farm charges a mere $5 for its goat snuggling services. Customers are able to snuggle with the goats for an unlimited amount of time, at a minimal cost.
“It depends on the size of the fair, but 500 people a day possibly. And they’ll just sit and snuggle. Some stay for hours and some of them, you know, they’re in and out five minutes. Adults, children. We’ve had state senators come and snuggle our goats. We’ve got a lot of support behind us,” Steinmetz concluded.
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