It would be difficult to keep a goat in the post-modern city. I’ve frankly never tried. A cat is about as high as I have gone in the great chain of being, here in the Greater Parkdale Area. A cat has charm, and an inspiring spirit of independence, but a goat could be more useful.

Unfortunately, goats are on “Schedule A.” I refer to the notorious anti-livestock by-laws, to be found in Chapter 349 of the City of Toronto Municipal Code.

And it’s not just goats. Other ungulates are equally denied us. No cattle, no sheep, no pigs may be kept, by the supposedly free citizens of this city. No marsupials either, even if you are carrying an Australian passport. No horses, no donkeys, no mules, … nor jackasses, unless they have seats on City Council. No alligators, no crocodiles. No lizards at all, that grow longer than two metres in adulthood. (Do they count the tail?) No felines that grow larger than house cats, and no canines that look like wolves. No bats, no sloths, no armadillos. The list goes on and on. You may not keep an elephant within the city limits of Toronto. (But what are you to ride if you cannot keep a horse?) You aren’t even allowed to keep a live chicken in this gawdforsaken town.

I cannot find a “Schedule B.” The tyrants lacked the imagination for that. Worse, they give a three-digit number anyone may call, who suspects his neighbour harbours an illicit animal. Decency prevents me from publishing what it is.

There is an office I used to rent on Saint Nicholas Street: a back lane the property developers have alas now discovered. It was right behind Yonge and south of Bloor, thus, close to the middle of our conurbation. It was a beautiful building, before they destroyed it; and it was an egg hatchery as recently as 1895. That was when, I gather, the communists must have come to power, and started to ban things every day.

Until then, not only poultry, but most of the city’s dairy consumption was from urban (and presumably urbane) cows.

The horse-drawn trolleys disappeared in 1891; the buggies were soon replaced with demonic motor cars. And then, the despots had the audacity to prevent one going out in one’s own buggy, whether or not it were pulled by a team of gallant ostriches.

I leave it there: I don’t want to depress gentle reader.

But I do want to protest against the generation of my great-grandfather, which began to legislate how people should live, or more precisely, what they should live without.

Communists, capitalists: they’re all the same to me. I think they work in tandem. I daresay the capitalists were in on the action, preventing people from feeding themselves, and thus forcing them to buy packaged goods from their stores, with cash they’d have to work for. Monopolists, slavemongers. And killjoys, the lot of them.

It wasn’t even a major-league goat I thought of acquiring. They do leap fences, and climb walls, and I can allow there might be some passing physical danger, from falling goats. For I can visualize a claustrophobic billygoat, overleaping a highrise balcony rail, in a mistaken break for freedom. (Where a nannygoat might show more foresight and patience.)

What I had in mind for the High Doganate was instead a Nigerian Dwarf. These goats rise to less than two feet at the withers, are affectionate and make good family pets. Properly curried, they can also be delicious.

Just one of the little females can provide more than a quart of milk a day (Imperial, not these wee United Statist quarts); and “freshened” (allowed to kid occasionally) she can be pushed towards a gallon. And this is splendid, high butterfat milk, ideal for your cheese-making.

Or if you live in a house, with a lawn, you can discard your evil-sounding lawnmower.

As I say, they are kindly, agreeable animals, easily trained and bonding (though some folk find them clingy). They take to a leash, so your children can have the pleasure of walking them — for instance, to “show-and-tell” at school. Were it not that some other parent’s monstrous child, or some unionized thug of a teacher, might rat you out by calling that city number. And then the swat team arrives from “Toronto Animal Services,” and you’re in the Drudge Report next morning.

Yet if, say, a few thousand of us got together, and simultaneously obtained Nigerian Dwarf goats, the city’s zoological gestapo might not know what to do.

It is spring, you know, up here in the Northern Hemisphere (par excellence). Surely it is time we set our minds to reclaiming some of our ancient liberties.