The feast a herd of goats made of a field of clover planted in Dumbo as an art installation could have been their last supper.
The masticating mammals were deployed last Thursday afternoon to level the crimson clover temporarily occupying a John Street lot at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge before construction begins on a 12-story luxury tower by the developer Alloy on the site. All that went as planned, but what became of the goats after they finished chowing down on the most heavily publicized meal they ever ate was a little less clear.
The five goats came from Madani Halal, a Queens meat seller catering to Muslims. The outfit dropped the goats off at noon, and art-show organizers tweeted that the animals would be on hand until 6 pm. But they were nowhere to be found when a reporter visited at 5 pm and the news website Gothamist rang the alarm with a post around that time headlined “Those Goats in Dumbo Just Got Loaded into a Halal Truck :(.”
A call to Madani Halal initially confirmed the intuitive notion that the goats had been given a hearty meal before heading back to the slaughterhouse to become part of a feast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began on June 28.
“They’re moving on to the next chapter of their lives,” said Imran Uddin, whose father owns the business. “They were just brought down to clear the clover.”
A representative of the gallery Smack Mellon claimed not to know how Madani Halal was involved and said that the developer Alloy arranged the goat visit.
Reached by phone, Alloy president Jared Della Valle denied the goats’ days are numbered.
“They’re not being slaughtered,” he said. “We’re looking for a place to bring them.”
Della Valle insisted on patching Uddin in for a three-way call, and the meat man promptly changed his tune.
“We’re very confident they’re going to be donated,” Uddin said. “We’re still trying to plan that out.”
A representative from Brooklyn Grange, which helped plant the clover field, claimed that raising awareness of the birth-to-butchery pipeline was actually a goal of the art piece, but toed the line that the beasts’ demise is a ways off yet.
“All goats, even dairy goats, are eventually slaughtered for meat production,” said Gwen Schantz, one of the group’s founders, in a statement. “This is the nature of our food system and one of the issues that this project set out to highlight. The five goats in our installation are being donated to a local educational farm, and will continue to live a happy life at pasture for years to come.”
Uddin and Della Valle said they are in ongoing talks with the Queens County Farm Museum, but a spokeswoman for that institution said she’d told them no.