Wednesday, November 11, 2009

PETA Says 4-H Is Cruel

4-H: Cruel to animals and kids
Chicago Tribune
By Jennifer O’Connor, PETA

November 2, 2009

Like most little girls, my stepdaughter loves animals. She joined a local 4-H club when she was 9, solely because "cows are cool." Now that the fall 4-H animal auctions are upon us, I can't help but remember Bonnie's first "assignment" a beautiful cow named Dana with long lashes and ears as soft as velvet. We all grew to love Dana, but none more so than Bonnie, who spent hours grooming her and walking her on a lead.

I had misgivings about Bonnie's decision to join 4-H: Unlike an unsuspecting 9-year-old, I knew the ultimate fate of the cows and other animals used in this program.

My fears were realized a couple years into the program when Bonnie learned that Meredith, another one of "her" cows, who was sick and unable to reproduce, had been sold to slaughter for a mere $75. To see such a deep bond so ruthlessly broken was a painful and eye-opening lesson for Bonnie. Her club leader was genuinely puzzled and irked by Bonnie's tears, dismissing her as "sentimental."

Dana, Meredith, Kath, Elise, Lola. They all had names, personalities and quirks. None was like the others except in one critical way. Like all cows used to provide milk for human consumption, these cows were treated as breeding machines and were artificially impregnated again and again.

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If there were ever animals that lived the easy life, it would be 4-H calves. These animals are pampered more than most people will ever experience. The point of these projects isn’t to make pets out of these livestock, it’s to teach proper animal handling, care and responsibility. It’s also to teach the next generation about food production. With that in mind, I would actually be worried about the 4-H kid that isn’t a little sad to see their livestock go down the road at the end of their time. After all, they have spent months caring for them and they should be proud of job they did. But I also know from my experience how proud I was when the person that bought my calf told me how great the beef tasted. After all, that was my ultimate goal. If PETA wants to criticize 4-H for teaching life lessons, then 4-H should wear that as a badge of honor. I’m proud of the fact that the 4th generation of my family is now starting 4-H. The lessons I learned in 4-H have served me well in my life. ~TH

43 comments:

Ulla said...

I was not in 4-H but my father sometimes let us have a lamb and then we could sell it at auction and keep the money. It was a very rewarding and important lesson.

Anonymous said...

In nature bovines reproduce 1 calf per year. So how is it unnatural to mimic that cycle when housed in a facility? Also, just like any other domesticated animal AI technology has given us the diversified breeds that we see today. Due to the fact that cows only produce one calf a year AI technology is instituted so that we can see faster improvements within our breeds. Among these traits are the following: healthy body condition, more physically enduring feet and legs, and temperment. All of which allow cows to live longer more productive and healthier lives on the farm.

MAT kinase said...

Tip of the iceberg. PETA campaigns actively against the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Red Cross and the Race for the Cure (because of animal experimentation). They have zero credibility.

http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm/h/2343-the-peta-principle-lab-rats-over-sick-kids

Bea Elliott said...

What a timely piece! Just recently a school in my community has dropped it's annual "pig raffle" as a fundraiser, in favor of a "veggie market/yard sale" --- They were pleased as more people attended and the funds they raised exceeded those of the previous years. The kids worked together in their gardens and got a lot of exercise weeding, watering and tending to the plants. The "Go Green" yard sale taught them organization, re-cycling and how to handle money/responsibility. Gosh! All those lessons and a profit to boot, with absolutely no death (or tears!)--- Makes you realize the potential for positive change!

Troy Hadrick said...

The interesting thing about you Bea is that you come on here talking against death and you have mentioned in the past that you are against violence, but then I find your name on websites that supports and encourages civil disobedience and violence against people. So say all you want, but your true colors shine very brightly.

Bea Elliott said...

Ah... but I also post on animal ag sites as well, does this mean I am "pro" animal ag? NOT. Where one opines hardly reflects what they speak about. One of the best places to orate a peaceful message is on a battlefield. And if this were not so, the churches should never invite the sinners... True?

Beside, I'm quite certain in a month you and yours will be embracing each other and spreading "Good Will" to all those of your own species... While those who are "kin" in awareness of the world, and the suffering in it - will go steadily down the bleedrail.

Sorry, I'm guilty of many things... but not of double-speak.

Troy Hadrick said...

Ah...But I'm not talking about places where you post. I'm talking about websites where you are listed as part of the inner circle. It's a website that advocates militance and civil disobediance. Not exactly the love and peace message you try to portray to people.

Bea Elliott said...

Guilt by association?

"One of the real conserstones of America, and one that most people in the world don't enjoy, is the fact that you are innocent until proven guilty."
- Troy Hadrick Nov 3, 2009

Troy Hadrick said...

I didn't say you were guilty of any crimes Bea. I just said that you are a member of the Inner Circle of a group that is advocating violence, civil disobediance and vegan militance, which goes against all of the things you normally say. So one could only assume you are somewhat of a hypocrite.

I would say that if you aren't in favor of these violent things, you should get your name removed from that list.

http://biteclubkc.wordpress.com/

Bea Elliott said...

Oh biteclub... had me scared for a while there I thought someone had placed me in the inner circle of some terrorist group like jihad, Ku Klux Klan, or the Neo-Nazis skinheads! What a relief!

No, biteclub is a zero (monetary) profit education and advocacy group. I believe their mission is to negotiate with the exploiters and speak out for the victims. "...we are willing to entertain any ideas, provided they are above-ground and legal." Last I checked there was nothing threatening about being a vocal protestor at demonstrations or making signs and leaflets.

And as far as "civil disobedience" goes - Thank goodness throughout our history groups like those wishing to part with England's domination thought enough to excersize that option! Course Rosa Parks was arrested for "civil disobedience" too - and no one would fault her for challenging those repressive "laws" either. Besides, you have your AETA - for what it's done to The Constitution, I'm certain our founders are rolling in their graves!

Troy Hadrick said...

So tell me again how showing pictures of people in ski masks with the words "vegan militance" on them be considered to be above ground? You don't normally have to hide your face when conducting legal activities. It's really disappointing that you would advocate for these types of activities.

Most of our founders were actually farmers, so I highly doubt they would be upset about protecting farmers and ranchers who raise livestock from vegan militants.

Bea Elliott said...

On masks and heros - hear of The Lone Ranger? Zorro? Batman? "V"? In a world where evil lurks, the good must blend with the bad - How else can one liberate the oppressed?

And yes, I know of historical farmers - The ones whose decendents now occupy "reservations".

I don't mind cheering for those who make no profit from needless bloodshed. And I'm all for removing the "masks" of those who do - You don't normally have to hide your business practices when conducting ethical activities.

S Sewald said...

My children are all in 4-H. They have learned responsibility, respect and compassion for God's creatures which were given to us to use wisely. 4-H has sent my son to college, The scholarships he has received because of his involvement in this program will cary him through at least 3 years of college. He has learned to be a gracious winner, as well as loser, a competetor, a mentor, a public speaker, a volunteer, the list is endless. I cannot say enough about 4-H. Kids serious about the program raise quality market animals and they have learned that the only way you can raise the best, is to treat them the best.

Bea Elliott said...

S Sewald - Your children have learned that lives of Others can be used/taken for monetary gain. Any good plantation owner 200 years ago would have espoused the same. Just comparing one to the other to illustrate that values and ideology and perceptions change with progress... I've always found the most intelligent kids usually grow up to question their childhood indoctrinations. Some never find conflict - others do... Good luck.

Troy Hadrick said...

I think we found the root cause of your opinions Bea. I hate to break it to you but the "people" you listed aren't real. So while you are living in a fantasy world with Batman and the Lone Ranger, the rest of us are busy with the realities of feeding the world.

I don't promote any type of militant activities and i wish you wouldn't either. You shouldn't have to promote violence to convince people of your opinions.

http://biteclubkc.wordpress.com/ shows your true colors.

derek said...

Don't have much time, so I'll have to keep this short! My time in 4-H was an incredibly rewarding experience. We learned about nature, about personal sacrifice, about agriculture and how important it is to the world, about lending a hand to your neighbors, about personal responsibility, etc.

4-H is an amazing organization that has helped millions upon millions of children in the U.S. learn, grow, and live to serve their communities and become better citizens/leaders. It's too bad activists make a habit of putting their foot in their mouth and discussing things about which they have no idea.

It's funny and sad at the same time... I'm thankful we have people like Troy are willing to stand up for the truth!

JeffFowle said...

I was in 4-H from the age of 9 - 18. I had beef, sheep and horse projects, did livestock judging, outdoor cooking and rocketry. 4-H gave me the opportunity to speak in public, hold leadership postitions within my respective projects and develop leadership skills by serving in chapter officer positions, as a county All-Star and as a State Diamond Star.

4-H taught me four important lessons. First, it taught me to keep accurate records, utilize budgets and live within my means. Second, it taught me responsibility and independence through the raising of my projects. Third, it taught me how to work in groups of people with differing opinions and perspectives. Fourth, it taught me the importance of community service.

Thinking back now, it is apparent that 4-H has a lot to offer anyone who gets involved. It's too bad more of our elected officials were not in 4-H when they were young. Perhaps through raising projects they would have learned lessons that would have prevented our current economic situation.

Melissa Baker aka lavendargoose said...

I grew up on a cattle and sheep ranch, which I am still involved with. I was in 4-H and, quite frankly, did not find it to be the best experience. I never took a market lamb or market steer project because of the difficulty that I would have had in selling him or her. The problem with those projects is that they DO make a pet out of the animal - they teach the animal to trust humans, only to experience the ultimate betrayal.
The animal projects that I did take part in were so unnatural. For instance, I had a Grand Champion gander. To prepare him for show, I had to scrub the scales on his feet with a toothbrush to make them look more appealing. Who in real life does something like that? Do people who butcher geese actually care if the scales on the feet are shiny? Is anyone eating the feet?
It was the same thing with my breeding ewe. I had to "card" her wool to make it look all nice and fluffy. Is this for real? Real agriculture people know that these are real animals with dirty wool, not stuffed animals you buy at the store. The process of carding the wool is actually quite uncomfortable for the animals. It is akin to having someone yanking your hair over and over and over again.
I do not have children, but if I did, I would NOT encourage them to join 4-H because the things that are done to the animals are unnatural, unnecessary, and sometimes painful. However, I also took cooking projects and home safety projects that seemed to have some value.

Anonymous said...

As a past 4-H & FFA member I can guarantee those organizations have made me the person I am today, a strong confident woman with work ethic, speaking and writing skills that allow me to promote my profession of agriculture. I raised and showed many animals and the process taught me hard work and reality that animals are great friends but are intended for the purpose of raising offspring or for meat to feed our family as well as the world. Sure I cried when my market animals went to slaughter but I also had animals that stayed in my herd for many years. It's all part of the circle of life. My children are now also 4-H and FFA members. By their choice my children get up before school to feed and water their animals before they eat their own breakfast, this is long before "city kids" have thought of getting out of their beds. Our family spends many hours a day and weekends together showing livestock, how many families even sit down to a meal together ? Our children respect themselves,their livestock, others and especially adults, something uncommon in many children these days. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but don't condeem what others do until you have seen it first hand, ask questions, go to a farm or livestock show and talk to those involved. Most people could not do the physical, emotional and long hours of work people in agriculture do it is 24/7 365 day commitment.
Sandy - A proud 4-H & FFA alumni, parent, farmer and retail store manager

Lucas & Alise said...

Great post Troy, I was in 4-H, as was my wife. We both learned how to properly care for the animals on our farm, and better yet, talk to consumers at the county and state fairs we attended. 4-H also taught us that good things must come to an end. Anyone with animals in 4-H has lost a cow, one way or another. I'm glad that we could use our animals and their by-products to feed people and make the world a better place.
The dairy cows on my farm lived lives of luxury. Further, their by-products helped produced the corn, sweet corn, peas, wheat, oats, alfalfa, and soybeans that make agriculture so diverse today. So whether you like sirloin steak or tofu, I am happy that my animals helped you and millions of others around the world to have food security and also provided income for our family, which was obviously again spent (as much as 7 to 9 times) in our surrounding community.
Plus, because of 4-H we have carnival rides, mini donuts, and the sense of community, all because of the fairs each project is exhibited in.

Lucas

S Sewald said...

I'm sorry Bea, in my world, and in the real world, we as producers provide quality nourishment to all people. The best way we can do this is to teach our children to carry on good farming and animal husbandry practices. Providing a clean, healthy environment and proper nutrition for our animals, provides the people of this world dairy and meat protein superior to any other protien product. I believe that those who equate the lives of human beings with the lives of animals are morally wrong, just as those plantation owners 200 years ago were morally wrong. I have had "good luck" with my kids. They are smart, intellegent kids who are welcome to question anything they have learned growing up. Because of their intelligence, they can see what is beneficial to this world, and I am confident that they will go far. You and your "friends" , of course have the right to believe what you want, just as I and my friends have that right. We are the majority however, and there is too much at stake for the world to allow fringe groups to destroy animal agriculture.

Jan Hoadley said...

I spent 11 years in 4-H with both crops and livestock. Bea to say crops don't die is wrong. I have onions in the dehydrator and they are most definitely dead. There *is* death with any food. Further kids get exercise raising livestock too - walking it, lifting feed and supplies and much physical activity. Of course it could also be argued that those raising gardens stay detached from their projects while the tears mean they learned compassion from raising the animal.

Further there are projects that one does not sell to market. Dairy calves and beef breeding stock were held over and shown multiple years without going to slaughter.

Belittling 4-H members and bullying them isn't good. 4-H or no we knew the cattle went to produce meat. We knew the pigs we raised (not 4-H projects) would be ham, bacon and sausage for the freezer.

I don't hear of critics up with sick animals or going out in freezing weather to feed and care for the animals.

Shari--UltraBeef said...

I was a proud 4-H member for 8 years of my life and I believe it changed my life. 4-H opened more doors for me than I could have ever imagined before joining my local 4-H Beef Club. It not only taught me about respect for myself and others, but it taught me respect and care for animals - not just "leading" those animals around a show ring but learning what it takes to raise, breed and feed a heifer, steer or cow/calf.

I learned quickly that with life comes death and that's just the way it is. I learned that these 4-H projects, whether it was my heifer or steer, were not pets that they were livestock that have a purpose. That purpose is to put food on the table. Sure I cried when I sold my first steer - in fact I cried when I was in the sale ring, when I watched him leave in the trailer, and for another few days afterwards. He had a name and a personality which only comes naturally when a person cares and raises any type of livestock. But I learned a valuable lesson from that - these livestock were put on this earth to serve a purpose - that purpose is four letters...BEEF. The best part of that was picking myself up from my sadness, and getting excited for the fall when I could pick out my new 4-H projects and start with a whole new outlook. I'd just make sure that if I wanted to get attached to anything, let it be my heifer who would be sticking around the farm for however long her life allows her.

4-H prepared me for much of what we face in life today. Those learning experiences taught me respect for the farmer that feeds the world, and what a blessing it is to be a part of it.

Samantha said...

I am a twelve year 4H member alumni and now a leader, and I simply cannot fathom the "lesson" this child learned. I had nothing but positive experiences in 4H and avidly encourage others to take part! I raised hogs and had an extensive breeding program...imagine the attitude that child would have had with that project. I think the child's opinion reflects poorly on the parent, who should have tried to teach a different lesson. A lesson of responsibility, natural life-cycles and breeding, and economics should have been taught here. Shame on the parents for that one! 4H is an excellent program and those involved will only benefit.

Bea Elliott said...

You know Troy... You got me! A 55 year old retired homemaker "aka" *militant" (and violent) animal rights activist. This news would really shake up my middle income suburbian neighborhood. And don't forget - if what you say, is really true... You have a civic duty and a patriotic responsibility to report me:
http://www.fbi.gov/
I'll be listening for the door bell.

In the meantime... I very much admire the farmers who feed me on 6times less resources than the animal industries require... Now, those are some "heroes" one can admire.

Anonymous said...

I was in 4-H for nine years. It was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. Your blatant disregard and ignorance of what 4-H truly stands for will never impune what myself and millions of other 4-Hers experienced. Matter of fact it is the self confidence and knowledge I gained through 4-H is what allows me to question the ridiculous idealogies of people like yourself.

Shari--UltraBeef said...

I totally agree with Anonymous. There isn't anything anyone could say that would change how I feel about the excellent experiences and learning lessons I (as well as millions of other North Americans) have gained through 4-H.

Rancher Debbie said...

I was a 10-year 4-H member, a County Extension Ag Agent, a 4-H community and project leader and a 4-H parent...by far the best is a 4-H parent! I am so proud of my five kids who all raise show heifers and steers for the county fair and other shows. The work ethic they have learned will stay with them throughout their lives. Our favorite project is the "beef" project--well named as we raise beef--not just show calves. We pamper and raise the cattle until the fair when they are sold and then slaughtered for consumption. The most important trophy awarded is the carcass champion and my kids have won it frequently with our Angus steers. You can't beat 4-H for life lessons! Yes, it is hard to sell that animal that you have spent so much time with, but that is their purpose. Our purpose is to give them a good life and make them the best they can be through good care and welfare. 4-Hers learn that so well!

Anonymous said...

I have been involved in 4-H my entire life. My grandparents started a 4-H club in my county back in the early 1930s for my father and his siblings. 4-H is the largest youth organization in the world that allows youth to gain vital life skills that unfornately other youth organizations cannot even attempt to teach. One of the reasons I am such a huge fan of 4-H is that family is a crucial step. If your son or daughter plays sports which I also grew up playing, the parents drop the youth off to ride on the bus and then cheer for them at their games. I have nothing against sports but family involvement is much less in sports than in 4-H. In 4-H I spent summers doing road trips with my parents as we drove to show/buy/train livestock. I learned how to paint, cook, speak and give demonstrations with my mother and other positive role models in my community. 4-H isnt' just about showing livestock although that is one of the best projects in it. 4-H is the largest youth organization in the world because it makes a difference in the lives of the youth involved regardless of their background. I cannot remember the source but one of the best comments I have heard in awhile about the future was, "If you are worried about America's future you shouldn't be when you look at our future in the lives of 4-H and FFA members. Our future is very bright with them as our leaders."

I personally believe 4-H members learn better work ethic, record keeping skills, public speaking skills, how to give back to the community and citizenship because of the way 4-H is organized. 4-H meets many of the important needs youth need met in order to develop into the intelligent, respectful, patriotic members of society we desperately need for our future.

Bea Elliott said...

There is no "purpose" or "reason" beside for "beef" other than economics. The "quality protein" is certainly easily replaced - else how would millions of us have done so?

And to Samantha - "natural life-cycles" do not include captive bolt stunning. But "natural life-cycles" for women were once thought to be bound to the stove and sewing machine... Goes to show how wrong we can be.

Shari--UltraBeef "majority rules"... and "might makes right"... Knew that was what it would come down to. I've been fortunate to be inspired by the many champions who have stood against a mob -

Bea Elliott said...

Oh... just a parting note about profit and economics... I assure you I am no slouch in this venue. How else could I be 55 retired in a nice paid for home? You see, I've done my share of business -"wheeling and dealing"... But I am proud to say that I've never done so at the cost of a life to another. Knowing this - I am about as "wealthy" as one can be! ;)

Troy Hadrick said...

I don't really see a point to the "my house is better than your house" argument Bea. The amount of money or type of house a person has gives no inkling as to the what's really important. Hopefully you can see that materialistic things are a poor way to measure a person.

The undeniable truth is that any success you have had in your life has depended on the death of something else.

~The South Dakota Cowgirl~ said...

There is really no point in arguing with someone like Bea. I must say what irks me most about these types is that I don't try to shove my lifestyle choices down their throat, but they certainly want to shove theirs down mine. That's really not very nice. Beef is what's for dinner over here more often than not. It doesn't behoove any rancher or dairymen to neglect their animals because their animals are their livelihood.

Bea Elliott said...

The calculated, orchestrated, DELIBERATE death of an innocent someone else??? Not by a long shot - Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I just want to leave a quick comment about what Melissa Baker said. She talks about how she cleaned her animals and made them all shiney and basically did not see the point because thats not how its done in ag.
Well I too was in 4-H and FFA and I will tell you that cleaning my horse and other animals for the show and working with them, taught me responsibility and to take pride in what I do. It teaches kids to take care of their animals, watch their health, keep track of what they eat as well as a great work ethic. I think it does relate to agriculture today because all the farmers and ranchers I know take great pride in what they do and their animals and take EXCELLENT care of them.

Anonymous said...

I just want to leave a quick comment about what Melissa Baker said. She talks about how she cleaned her animals and made them all shiney and basically did not see the point because thats not how its done in ag.
Well I too was in 4-H and FFA and I will tell you that cleaning my horse and other animals for the show and working with them, taught me responsibility and to take pride in what I do. It teaches kids to take care of their animals, watch their health, keep track of what they eat as well as a great work ethic. I think it does relate to agriculture today because all the farmers and ranchers I know take great pride in what they do and their animals and take EXCELLENT care of them.

Melissa Baker aka lavendargoose said...

In response to Anonymous, who posted on what I said about scrubbing my goose's foot with a toothbrush and carding my ewe's wool, I would like to assert that I still disagree. You can learn to take care of your animals naturally without subjecting them and yourself to useless activities. I do take pride in what I do and am proud as hell of my geese, but now that I am not in 4-H anymore I am certainly not doing crazy things like scrubbing their feet. You can take "excellent care" of your animals in a natural way, not by engaging in fruitless activities.

Leann vegan said...

The way that they slughter the animals is the cruel part. The facory farming and transportation is also uncool. 4-H should also let the kids know how and what happens to there animals.The secret s we keep from our kids is not healthy.

Troy Hadrick said...

Hi Leann, my kids aren't even old enough to be in 4-H yet and they know exactly what livestock are used for. So your claim that secrets are being kept from 4-H kids is completely inaccurate.

Bea Elliott said...

Well, I guess I'm in a unique position here... My husband was born/raised on a farm. I've met many "old timers" who were family or friends, strange how most of them recall teary-eyed the shock and hurt when their "first animals" were sold at county fairs and through "4H". Apparently it made enough of a negative impression on them, cause they've kept their kids (and grands) out of the animal "farming" side of school projects.

To say that it doesn't harm kids is really narrow in scope... You can't speak for all adults who look back with regret - And there are plenty of them out there, even among the now-vegan circles. Young minds have a way of molding to whatever they think adults expect of them. Indoctrinating them early doesn't always guarantee they won't remorse later.

Anonymous said...

Ok Bea, first off, you really should stop trying to stuff your livelihood down other peoples throats. no matter what you say, we are not going to change our ways, and I will continue to eat all the meat I want. And also, bragging about how you live now just makes you seem shallow. Sorry.
Now for Melissa. I too have showed lambs, I still do, and we card our lambs legs to become "nice and fluffy" so their legs will look bigger and with more meat on them when we show. Also it is just like us brushing our hair, it doesnt hurt them. I'm suprised you never found out about this when you showed.
So before any of you critisize me, let me just say that I'm a 16-year-old and am the proudest person of FFA and 4H. I am so proud and lucky to be in the FFA and I have learned so much from my experience. Nothing you say will ever let me think otherwise. And thanks Troy, for sticking up for all of us against the ones who try to opress the youth. You rock.

Anonymous said...

I am in 4-H and FFA and this PeTA garbage just sickens me. Most of my friends and family, including me raise animals for show and or meat (I raise show rabbits) and these animals are some of the best cared for I have ever seen. My aunt and uncle raise beef cattle, and they have an enormous pasture where they are completely spoiled in. The child described in this article just doesn't seem to understand that not all illnesses that animals get can be cured, and since that cow was suffering from an illness, it only made sense that it was put out of its misery and butchered. But, I must say that the way the 4-H leader handled the girl's sadness was kind of unacceptable, though. She should have comforted the girl and explained to her the harsh realities of farm life. I read the rest of this article on another site, and it said something about the 4-H staff warning the girl about carrying a PeTA water bottle. Many people might think that is mean, but fairs have been threatened by radical animal rights groups sponsored by PeTA, so it was only a safety precaution.

cowboyrich said...

The awesomest and funniest thing happened a few years ago when I was showing my goats at our county fair. There were 40 or 50 people there with their trailers and goats. We were washing the goat's fur and getting ready for show. When these ladies sporting PETA t-shirts confronted my 4-H agent. They accused him of teaching kids to abuse and maime goats (when clearly, the kids were taking excellent care of their animals). Before they left, they exclaimed that our next project should be a field trip to the slaughterhouse to show us what happens after our project is over. My 4-H agent got this goofy grin on his face and replied, "We're going there next week..."