Preview: CBC’s Year of the Goat spotlights the farm’s curious creatures

Back in 2018, Markham Street Films made the excellent “Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit,” for CBC’s documentary stream. Detailing the behind-the-scenes drama in the Canadian Cat Association and competitions to name “Best Cat,” it was a lot of fun to watch.

Now Markham Street Films is giving goats their due in a splendid follow-up.

“Year of the Goat,” airing as part of CBC Docs POV on Saturday at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem, it follows five families as they prepare to show their goats at competitions around Ontario. The goal? To land a spot in The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the holy grail of agricultural fairs.

Described as “livestock monkeys,” “dogs that give you milk” and “too smart for their own good,” by three of the human interview subjects, viewers catch up with the Vickers family first. Based in Guelph, Ont., the Vickers breed goats as a hobby. Next up is the Yantzi’s who call their farm in New Hamburg, Ont., home alongside four breeds of goats. Then it’s off to meet the Emons, just outside London, Ont.; the Holyoakes in Peterborough, Ont.; and the Kerrs in Newburgh, Ont. All detail their reasons for having goats in the first place and share their thoughts on the animals.

Then the meat of the story: how goats are judged in fairs, categories, the qualifying process and the ultimate trip to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Aside from preparing them for competition, it takes a lot of hard work making sure the animals are fed and watered, cared for and treated when sick. What do judges look for when handing out ribbons? It’s all covered here.

As with Markham Street’s past doc on cats, “Year of the Goat” offers viewers a lot of information delivered in a very natural, entertaining way. From what they eat to the different breeds (why La Mancha’s have tiny ears is fascinating), directors Michael McNamara and Aaron Hancox capture the energy and curiosity of the subject matter brilliantly.

I kid you not: you should check this out.

“Year of the Goat” airs as part of CBC Docs POV on Saturday at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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