Goats in Washington bring good will

More than 100 goats, rather than machines or pesticides, became the creative solution to eliminating the dense underbrush that it is strangling trees, which could fall on headstones that have been in the cemetery since 1807.

Roughly 200 members of Congress and their families are either interned or memorialized in the cemetery. It was once called the “national burying ground,” and was founded and owned by Christ Church. Later, it became known as the Washington Parish Burial Ground. By the 1820s, many funeral processions beginning from the Capitol Hill and the White House ended at the cemetery.

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Some of the country’s most important leaders are buried in the cemetery, and one of its most prominent features is the Public Vault. Congress built the vault in 1835 to store the bodies of members who died, usually while in session, until funeral arrangements could be made. Among those who stayed in the early classical revival structure were three presidents: William Henry Harrison (1841), John Quincy Adams (1848), and Zachary Taylor (1850).

However, it wouldn’t be Washington, if red tape wasn’t involved. Although the solution to eliminating poison ivy, weeds and underbrush was agreed upon, the D.C. Department of Health halted the goats from munching until their “health” was cleared. A livestock veterinarian had to be found to clear the herd’s health. A small setback, perhaps even a sign of what is to come under Obamacare, but once the herd was cleared, they began to eat and will continue to eat for about a week to clear out parts of the cemetery.

This approach is not new, as goats are being used around the country to prevent fires and disease from coast to coast by local municipalities. And, yes, even my family had a goat, when I was growing up, to clear out the weeds on our property in northwest New Jersey. Elizabeth, an agile middle-aged goat, was able to get into the densest areas of the woods, near our lawn, where no humans or machines could reach. She was fun to play with and was a delight to children in the neighborhood.

Animals do bring out the best in people—as reporters continue to tweet their delight in these four-legged creatures. Some have even ventured over to the cemetery to greet them.

But to observe these goats munching causes one to wonder, what it would be like if all political decisions in Washington could be this easy? Perhaps members of Congress should bring their pets to the office as a sign of good will and cheer. The presence of animals might even help them accomplish comprehensive bi-partisan efforts more substantial than lawn care.

Blankley is a political analyst for Fox News Radio, whose conservative commentary appears in national news outlets.