DC rents poison ivy-eating goats for a week to clear out the Congressional Cemetery [SLIDESHOW]

Audrey Hughes Contributor
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Washington D.C. is using farm animals to clean up the Congressional Cemetery for pocket change per hour.

Fifty-eight goats are calling the historic DC Congressional Cemetery home for the next week. The goats are expected to eat over an acre of poison ivy and English ivy, as well as the invasive species that inhabit the back of the historic burial ground.

“We’ve got a real problem with invasive plant life, especially the vines that are climbing our trees and risk toppling them over onto the historic headstones,” cemetery President Paul Williams said.

The goats will actually eat the seeds of the plants, and their digestive system will break them down.

After their seven-day stay, the graveyard should be clear all vegetation as high as seven feet off the ground.  For 16 hours a day,  the goats will actively eat vegetation from the brush-filled section of the cemetery.

“They are doing work in a tough spot. A lot of landscapers wouldn’t want to be there, so they are actually a better deal,” said Brian Knox, the supervisor for the company Eco-Goats.

All this strenuous labor comes at the low cost about 25 cents per goat per hour, far below the current D.C minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

The Cemetery contracted the Annapolis-based company Eco Goats to bring the cheap labor.  Eco Goats is a company solely dedicated to providing goats as an alternative means of removing invasive species.

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