Filed under: General
This article was published in the Waterford News & Star on Friday August 25th 2006
Staggering response to ‘save the goats’ petition
By Jennifer Long
A STAGGERING 17,000 signatures have been amassed on a special petition calling for the protection of the goats of Bilberry Rock.
Since the petition was first circulated in June, it has attracted “over-whelming support” from the people of Waterford and beyond, according to members of the newlyformed Bilberry Goat Herd Preservation Trust who organised it.
In addition, since the plight of the Bilberry Goats was featured on the front page of the Waterford News & Star around the same time, they’ve been the subject of major international publicity.
Stories highlighting their situation subsequently appeared in all of the major national newspapers in Ireland, and on the national radio stations, but also in media further afield.
The major newspaper in Malta (there’s a Maltese breed of goat) has run a story on the Waterford goats, the exact origin of which will be determined by DNA testing prior to Christmas.
Many of the English newspapers, including the Daily Tele -graph, have also picked it up as has The Irish Emigrant which offers news online for the global Irish community.
“The response has been absolutely amazing,” said Martin Doyle, proprietor of The Cosy Thatch pub in Kilmeaden and member of the Bilberry Goat Herd Preservation Trust.
“We’ve been amazed by the amount of publicity that has been generated and that was always our aim; to raise awareness of these animals and then to lobby for something to be done to protect them.” “The Irish Wildlife Trust, who’ve been hugely supportive, also have an article called ‘Waterford’s Unique Bilberry Goats – A Living History’ in the August edition of their magazine.”
“They’ve set up a website for us too (www.bilberrygoats.wordpress.com) which has information on the goats as well as on the aims of the trust.”
“We’ve also been inundated with emails from ordinary people giving their support for what’s being done – and others even asking for directions to Bilberry Rock because they want to bring their children to see the goats which is something everybody locally should do.”
Martin Doyle said that the astounding success of the campaign petition and the publicity that had been generated, essentially meant that the focus of the Trust now now had to switch to actually getting the powers-that-be to sit up and take notice.
“We will be sending a letter to the Council now asking for something to be done to protect the land,” he said.
“It would be an absolute disgrace if this unique breed of goats is not saved from extinction.”
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