It doesn’t seem very respectful to turn almost 60 goats loose in D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery, until you hear they’re actually there to chomp away at the poison ivy and kudzu that’s choking gravestones. Invasive plant species pull down trees, which knock over the headstones of famous dead white guys like John Philip Sousa and J. Edgar Hoover. And we can’t have that. According to NatG:
The goats will work round-the-clock to clear everything up to seven feet high, said Daniel Holcombe, the grounds and conservation manager at the cemetery, who was standing in the midst of several happily chewing goats…
[The goats] love kudzu and poison ivy — and 58 goats are enough to clear almost half an acre per day.
They’re also a money saver. It costs about $4,000 to rent the goats for the week, which breaks down to about 25 cents per goat per hour…
McClatchy reveals a few of the goats’ names: Buckaroo, Mimi, and Yoda. Aww! In addition to being just plain cute, the goats mean the Congressional Cemetery doesn’t have to use pesticides to kill the invasive plants — great news because the Anacostia watershed is only half a mile away.
The goats are also “fertilizing” the 35-acre cemetery. So if the idea of potentially having your remains whizzed on by a gently bleating goat strikes your fancy, you’ll be glad to know that burial plots are still available. As the cemetery says on its FAQ page, you don’t have to be a member of Congress to be buried there: “You just have to be dead.” And comfortable getting a posthumous golden shower from a hard-working goat.
The Kids Are Alright: Goats That Double as Lawnmowers, National Geographic.