A History of Farm Animals in NYC
When and why were large farm animals banned from NYC? What’s happening on the one working farm exempt from this ban? Did you know that thousands of pigs used to freely roam around New York City? Pre-COVID, Melissa and Wythe chatted with environmental historian Catherine McNeur and long-time animal farmer Heidi Woolever (formerly of Queens County Farm Museum) in order to learn why we don’t see pigs in the streets any more. We then followed up with Heidi in March, 2022. Queens County is the oldest farm in the city, and the only one currently home to pigs (and cows, goats, and alpacas…). And Catherine’s book, Taming Manhattan, offers rich historical details about our once-pig-filled streets, and why getting rid of the pigs was also a move by the rich to change poor, non-white neighborhoods. We get into “swill milk” (a gross but important story in the city’s history), what animals you can raise in the city (no rhinos, sadly), and how Queens County operates today. We also talk to Heidi about how a person even gets into animal husbandry as a career in NYC—and why goats are magnificent creatures. Check out this episode, review Fields, and share us with your friends!
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