Why do 🧑🌾 shepherds need Judas 🐐 goats? And what exactly IS a Judas goat?
Not be confused with the Biblical scapegoat, the Judas goat is entirely different!
Historically, shepherds would have a specially trained goat to herd other sheep or cattle. These goats would be used to lead other animals into pens or to the slaughter while being spared itself.
Similarly, cattle herders would use a steer to serve the same purpose, leading other cattle to pens or the slaughter.
These special goats and cattle came to be known as Judas goats, or Judas steer, hearkening back to the Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.
In modern times, the practice of the Judas goat has more or less fallen to the wayside, however.
Today, Judas goats and Judas animals in general are more often used to find feral animals targeted for removal. These Judas animals are marked, sterilized, and have a GPS tracker fitted on them so hunters can find herds of feral animals to exterminate.