Goats peering around a pile of papers

Kidding itself? European Commission propose new plan for CAP revision 

In a surprise U-turn, the European Commission have ditched their current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) simplification plan in favour of a new initiative. Samantha Ibbott reports.

Early this morning, the Commission revealed a new plan to ensure that the CAP reduces the burden on farmers: a CAP-funded EU-wide “Goat Yoga” scheme, designed to allow farmers to find inner peace whilst baby goats balance on their backs. In a statement earlier today, the Commission stated that the scheme will “not only promote mental well-being for farmers, but it will also address the administrative burden as the goats will be able to consume the administrative paperwork that farmers have to deal with, quite literally nibbling away their worries”. 

However, the scheme has already received criticism. Unlike the eco-schemes in the CAP – which have incredibly low requirements making it a breeze for farmers to reap the rewards – farmers are required to have a minimum of twenty goats to receive the benefits in the scheme, drawing some serious concerns about equity and access to CAP funding.  

Biting off more than they can chew?

And whilst environmental NGOs have applauded the Commission on finally realising the ridiculousness of scrapping environmental measures when farmers are already facing the harsh the impacts of the climate and biodiversity crises, many have raised concerns about the welfare of the goats as the amount of paperwork they will be expected to eat is likely to give them a tummy ache. In response, the Commission has pledged that only plant-based inks and toxic-free paper will be provided.  

Isabel Paliotta, Policy Officer for Sustainable Food Systems at the EEB, expressed skepticism about the scheme’s effectiveness: “While Goat Yoga may provide temporary relief for farmers, we must not kid ourselves. If the Commission is serious about reducing the burden on farmers, then it must create policies that are as sturdy as a mountain goat, not as fleeting as downward dog.” 

Only time will tell if this unconventional approach proves to be a sustainable solution for the future of European agriculture or as baaaaad as the previously proposed CAP revisions.