Hello, goat lovers throughout the world!
I was appointed Country Representative (CR) of the International Goat Association for Japan in May 2018. Goat raising has become fashionable in recent years in my country, although the population of goats is only around 20,000. Goat keepers raise goats not only for dairy and meat purposes but also for weeding, education, companion animals, etc. Nonetheless, goat raising in Japan is facing some issues.
One of these issues is to establish a feeding standard for goats raised in Japan. As Japanese standards for nutrient requirements of goats do not exist at present, goat keepers have been using the nutrient requirement tables published by the National Research Council (NRC) for feeding goats. The NRC requirements, however, sometimes do not seem to fit Japanese goat conditions. The Japan Goat Network, the only national organization for goat lovers in Japan, has initiated collecting references and is in the process of creating a temporary feeding standard. Complete feeding standards will be established for goats in Japan in the near future.
Another issue is a shortage of abattoirs which accept processing goats in Japan. Although the population of goats had decreased since 1957 to a recorded number of approximately 14,000 goats in 2010, the population is trending upward due to the increased popularity of goats during the last few years. People keep goats for dairy production, weeding, and restoration of abandoned cultivated land, emotional education in school, companion animals, etc. Conversely, the effective use of male and non-productive goats as meat should be considered. Goat production for meat consumption is popular in Okinawa, located in the southern inlands area of Japan. The distribution of goat meat in the Japanese mainland, however, is still minor. Many research studies have shown the advantages of goat meat compared to other livestock meat. Thus, meat goat production and goat meat consumption still have possibilities to be developed in the country. Nevertheless, the locations of abattoirs for goats are limited in the Japanese mainland. Negotiations with concerned organizations should be conducted to increase the places for processing goats in the country.
For tackling and solving these issues, information and advice from colleagues all over the world are necessary. The strong relationship with IGA is important for our activities relating to goats in Japan. I look forward to keeping good relationships and communicating with IGA members. Thank you in advance for your kind consideration and cooperation for developing goat production in Japan.
Yoshiaki Hayashi, Ph.D.
IGA Country Representative for Japan
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.