CHICAGO
10/26/2012 12:27 pm ET

O'Hare Goats Bidding Battle Ramps Up As Chicago Restaurant Owner Makes Bargain Offer

Bids for the O'Hare goat contract have rolled in from around the country as owners vie for their goats to be chosen as the airport's earth-friendly weed control force.

Eleven people have placed bids so far, according to Fox Chicago, including a professional goat farmer from upstate New York, a Burr Ridge man who grew up herding sheep in Argentina, and the lowest bidder—a butcher shop owner in Lincoln Park.

The bids range from $19,000 to $180,000, Fox reports, but it was Lincoln Park's Butcher & the Burger that slotted a competitive local bid of $19,500. Though the concept burger restaurant offers butchering classes and keeps a small yard of livestock outside the city, owner Al Sternweiler told the station they don't have plans for their potential O'Hare goats to end up on the chopping block.

It's been just over a month since the Chicago Department of Aviation announced it was seeking seeking a good herd for a pilot weed control program in which the goats—rather than gas-guzzling machines—control vegetation in a hard-to-mow area of the country's second-busiest airport. The mammalian mowers will be separated from O'Hare's runways by a security fence, meaning passengers won't see any goats trotting on the tarmac.

(Read the CDA's 2011 sustainability report.)

Amy Malick, the CDA's deputy commissioner, has said the department worried about the pollution produced by their industrial mowers. The department plans to award a contract within the next several weeks.

Goats have been used for vegetation control at golf courses and other airports such as San Francisco International.

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