Does 4-H desensitize kids to killing?
June 23rd, 2011
11:00 AM ET
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What do farmers have to say about agriculture issues? Hear it straight from them in Farmers With Issues.

4-H stands for "Head, heart, hands, health" and apparently a fifth - for "haters."

To many, 4-H Clubs are all about nurturing sweet little calves, adorable children winning ribbons, urban garden patches and proud future farmers grooming prized pigs for show. To others, it's a calculated system for turning the youth of America into cold, unfeeling animal killers.

When Eatocracy ran a 5@5 feature with chef Kelly Liken on the topic of Five Reasons to Buy from Your Local 4-H earlier this week, we quickly identified within the comments two distinct perceptions of the organization - which was originally set up by the United States Department of Agriculture to train the rural youth of America in hands-on skills like agriculture and raising animals. One was that 4-H promotes responsible animal husbandry and the cultivation of food resources in a responsible, ethical way and the other was that it serves to desensitize children to the suffering of animals.

Here's what commenters to that article had to say:

In cold blood

I don't and would never support the 4-H. This group helps desensitize youngsters into having no emotional attachment to animals raised for food. For those who say no one should have attachment to animals raised for food, I say "of course". This is how the meat industry stays in business. If children are raised to love all animals and not try to see them as products, they would not be interested in seeing them killed. "Listening to the auctioneer and seeing how excited the children get when their animal is purchased is an incredibly fulfilling experience."

Really? Incredibly fulfilling experience. You mean knowing the animal that trusted you from birth is off to be mistreated before being slaughtered! That's fulfilling? Maybe that's because the 4-H has successfully desensitized these children who may have once be appalled by this. It's simply horrific. Shame on you 4-H for what you do to animals and to children. - Heather King

Education, not desensitization

What 4-H does do is promote responsible animal husbandry and the cultivation of food resources in a responsible, ethical way. I accept your position that any killing of animals for food is, in your position, not ethical or moral, however most of us are omnivores and I for one would rather that those producing the meat I choose to eat do so in a humane and ethical way. I respect your position, but I would also hope that you would rather see people brought up to understand, and therefore demand, that there an ethical way to treat an animal even if that animal's eventual purpose is the nourishment of a human being.

Desensitization is the wrong word–education is the right word. These kids (I was one) are not at all desensitized to the process–rather, they are educated about proper raising and care of these animals. Not only was I a member, but growing up we also purchased meat and produce from 4H and FFA members–talk about locally sourced! We could be confident in the quality, origin, and raising of these products in a way we can rarely be in a supermarket. - Value rather than desensitization

A lasting impact

Have you ever been at a 4-H auction? Most of the younger kids end up crying after their animal gets bought and not donated back. As they grow older, they wrap their head around the idea, but when they're first starting out they have a hard time accepting it. It doesn't mean they're "desensitized" to it, it's the fact they they've matured and understand that animal's purpose more as time goes on. - Brianna

The circle of life

Someone asked earlier in the thread how many 4-H kids had actually seen an animal slaughtered. In my club back home (rural Sierra Nevadas), the answer was ALL OF US. We toured the packing houses where our animals would later be slaughtered (note packing HOUSES, as these buildings housed perhaps thirty head at an outside estimate, nowhere near large enough to call a "processing plant"), examined carcasses, viewed the taking of animals lives and the bloodletting afterwards, and were given briefings on the saws and tools used. This while spending hours a day bathing, training, feeding and cleaning up after our own still very alive animals. - 4-H fo'sho'

The value of life

It is really so unevolved. Why are people proud that the kids are crying as they lead their animals onto the trailer to be killed for food? You are teaching them that relationships are disposable. That animals are disposable. NOT A GOOD LESSON, and these poor animals raised as pets are off to the slaughterhouse where they will be tortured before they die. - Kathy

It keeps them off the streets

Small scale food-animal raisers aren't cold blooded killers, they're making money doing what they enjoy doing. If anyone is desensitized to animal life, go to Youngstown [ed: where the commenter grew up] and talk to all the thugs on the street that grew up around murders happening weekly. THEN you'll find someone who doesn't value human or animal life.

If I have kids, you bet they'll be in 4-H. I'd rather see them doing that than doing what most of the people I grew up with did. Kids deserve more of a chance than what drugs, crime and partying can offer them. - Brianna

It should be noted that animal husbandry and sales are only a portion of what 4-H Clubs do. Other former members spoke of "arts and crafts like pottery, painting; outdoor activities like camping, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, and...skills like woodworking and leather-working" as well as horse showing and "cooking, photography, jewelry making" and others. Still, with the issue of animal raising and slaughter on the table, we'd like to know what you think in the comments below.

Previously - A day two pigs would die: ethical slaughter

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Filed under: Animal Rights • Buzz • Farmers with Issues • Food Politics • From the Comments • Local Food • Vegan


soundoff (1,645 Responses)
  1. Don't Feed the Trolls

    Nope...stupid generally is eliminated once the meat reaches approximately 165 degrees F. As long as you prepare it on a clean surface and cook it to the correct temperature, you should be just fine.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  2. Pete Schwetty

    Does 4-H desensitize kids to killing? Nohh... HOLLYWOOD does.

    Have you seen the latest trailer to Conan The Barbarian remake?

    Does 4-H desensitize kids to killing? No, the VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY does. Have you seen the latest hyper killing hyper violence in the latest offerings at E3?

    Does 4-H desensitize kids to killing? No. Hip Hop gang banger, thug, bling culture does. They literally get obsessed with guns.

    Kid you not.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  3. vegdoc

    Yaaaawn. Gosh. I don't hate anything but hate itself. The whole "holier than thou" attitude of the vegetarians and folks that tout organic production is laughable. The arguments are based on ignorance and fear. The "scientific" studies you reference were written by "scientists" with an agenda and who found a way to get funded writing grants for work that supports the vegetarian lifestyle or that supports organic farming. I don't hate you for your ignorance. However, fear and ignorance dictate a lot of policy, and that policy affects people and their well-being. When fear and ignorance negatively affect people, this is wrong. I know a lot of vegetarians that don't bust on omnivores. They eat veggies because they simply don't like the texture of meat. If you eat vegetarian for any reason, I think that is fine, even if it is because you don't want to eat animals. And to think you have some higher awareness of your humanity, and you choose not to eat meat because of that, that is fine too. Just don't beat up on people that don't agree with you. There is too much history and data to disprove your arguments. Just do what you feel is right for you, but don't try and make it policy. Same goes for organic. I think it is fine to grow, sell, purchase and eat organic. If folks can make money on it, more power to them. Just don't make pesticide use or GMOs out to be bad. You really don't have a leg to stand on.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  4. Grace

    I participated in 4-H when I was younger, and I can say that I appreciate that my school offered this. I can't say that it was life-altering, but I definitely appreciate what I eat much more than others. I remember raising ducklings when we were first introduced to this program. I cried when they were taken away from us. Unfortunately my time with 4-H was short as I moved to a school without this program. It's interesting though to see how my view of eating duck differs from that of eating any other animal. I never at duck as a child not because of the 4-H program, but just because it was never a choice for me. However as I grew older and had the opportunity to eat duck, I could see the effects of 4-H. Every single time I eat duck, I'm reminded of my ducklings that I raised. I appreciate duck so much more than I do any other food. And I can say that this is because of 4-H.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  5. Ieat

    Article is hypocritical unless the ones against it want everyone to be vegetarians. If anyone has a problem with raising animals then eating it, just become a vegetarian. Yes those MEAT we're eating come from animals. Don't sugarcoat that fact.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  6. markS

    WOW, I can't believe I just read this crappy article. I suppose next some whiny A@@ will complain that the Boy Scouts and Girl Scout teaches manners and respect and how to be a productive individual. The fact is 4-H teaches about life, the cycle of life. These kids see how that cycle goes and have a better respect for life. I suppose these same idiots will complain that farmers are a bunch of insensitive killers as well, while they are eating their steaks and corn. Grow up people!

    June 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Jeff

      Shh! Don't get them started on the Boy Scouts! The same trendy urbanoids who accuse 4-H kids of immorality for raising animals will get their panties in a wad because the Boy Scouts won't hire homosexual scoutmasters for moral reasons. Remember: your morals are bad because you are a conservative hick from the sticks and mine are good because I live in a $3000-a-month city loft and enjoy chai tea enemas.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  7. John

    My daughter was in 4-H and she is vegan.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  8. Bill Henderson

    Oh yeah... 4H bad. Lets all go eat tofu and hug a tree. The world is getting crazier every day.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • MikeD

      Frankly, the "eat tofu and hug a tree" rhetoric is just as ignorant as the bleatings of the "meat is murder" crowd.

      June 24, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  9. Elisa

    Well, I am pretty liberal and I was a "4-Her" begining at 9 years old, until I graduated from High School.In addition to raising lambs and rabbits, I participated in the sewing, cooking, baking, and photography programs offered by 4-H. The LIFELONG skills I learned through 4-H are inmeasurable, but I will list the benefits I reaped: organization, public speaking, growing a successful garden,maintaining a beautiful yard, making all meals for my family (and I work full-time–I am not a stay home mom), I sew missing buttons back on rather than taking them to the dry cleaners for $5 per button and I can hem my own pants. I know how to select the BEST cuts of meat and how to buy an animal to be slaughtered. 4-H is an incredible program that has something to offer everyone.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Texas DQ

      you can't be a liberal...that was just too intelligent of an answer...you've got to be a conservative...I mean, you sew your own buttons back on for goodness sake!!! :-)

      June 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  10. Geoff Baysinger

    Give me a break. ANYONE who eats or uses any animal product should have to take a class where they see the actual processes. It doesn't desensitize them to killing ... it educates them on exactly what their consumption entails. Yes, if you completely 100% forswear the use of animal products then you get to not like these kinds of education. But for the vast majority of the population they are just grossed out because their children are involved in a part of the process that they have otherwise been allowed to abstract themselves from. How many children (AND adults) eat rainforest beef at McDonalds ... but are still disturbed at the idea of killing an animal? I'd rather know people who are willing to kill what they eat ... and therefor treat the animal better than wholesale farming tends to ... than those folks.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  11. Don't Feed the Trolls

    Don't feed the trolls...well don't feed them meat anyways.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  12. Thankful for a 4-H Education

    As an organization that does so much for youth, I'm shocked to find there are people that have a problem with 4-H animal programs.

    Raising an animal through 4-H requires time, dedication, care, and the development of knowledge to fulfill the needs of another living being. Let's be real-4-Hers who participate throughout life (until high school graduation), receive a lifetime of lessons through 4-H animal programs and have to keep a living, breathing creature alive and healthy.

    Focusing on the end result of the animal programs is focusing on <1% of what 4-H teaches about animals and responsibility.

    Many 4-H raisers go to great lengths for their animals. Assuming that 4-Hers are desensitized to animal slaughter is naive. Many have seen their animals born, helped them take their first breaths, fed them, bathed them, exercised them, doctored them, hugged them, laughed, been saddened to see them go, and ultimately receive a greater appreciation of the gift these animals are and why it is so crucial that animals be raised and cared for properly. I will always remember the animals I raised through 4-H.

    I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living. For my club, my community, my country, and my world.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Texas DQ

      oooo-rah

      June 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  13. Former Meat Eater

    ps i too grew up on a farm. The fact that vegetable farming is also fraught with the over use of chemicals by big ag business in NO way negates the arguments I made against factory farming of animals for moral and/or health reasons

    June 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Joxon

      When we have more people living in apartments than there are farms what do you think is going to happen. We have people who don't know how to use a lawn mower much less farm. Its a lack of education about where food comes from besides the grocery store. This is exacly why 4-H is more inportant now then it ever has been

      June 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  14. Sarah

    I personaly was involved in 4-H most of my life, from a mini member to my teens. These are some of the best years of my life. I raised Pigs, Sheep, rabbits, etc. I was also in clubs within 4-H like photography, bee keeping, tole painting, aquarium, arts and crafts, and my favorite, an Off Highway Vehicle group which I participated with my Jr. Dragster. I do not believe the raising of animals to go to auction to be slaughtered desensitized me what so ever. I love animals, and love the experiences I had. Even though it was hard to part with the animals I raised for so many months, I knew it was the circle of life, and did not effect my thoughts of animals one bit.
    I believe 4-H is the best thing you could ever do for your kids. Get them out of the house, socialize.. I even went to a 4-H camp yearly in the Napa Ca mountains.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  15. Stephan

    The 4-H people's comments may have some merit in a farming community, but how do they explain that in my area which is quite urban without a farm for miles they have kids breeding rabbits.
    We need more rabbit breeders in our cities like I need a hole in the head. With over 1000 rabbits in the shelters in just my area alone, why would they teach kids to breed and raise rabbits who are not needed. No one around here raises their own food and so there is no need to pump out hundreds if not thousands of rabbits to what purpose?
    Those rabbits most often end up at the shelters or sold for almost nothing to just "get rid" of them when their 4-H experiment is over.
    I see the booths set up at the local street fairs using live rabbits to lure the kids into their organization. What 8 year old girl does not want to hug and play with a cute fluffy rabbit, but rabbits are not kid's pets contrary to popular belief and it is wrong to teach these kids that it is OK not to spay and neuter your pets so that you can breed them.
    If 4-H taught more responsibility to the kids instead of teaching them to breed animals and not worry about where they will eventually end up or go when they are done.
    I hear stories from the kids about breeding dozens of baby rabbits to get one good "show" rabbit. What happens to the other non-show quality rabbits. Good breeding practices should include dealing with every animal you create instead of dumping them into the pet world to deal with such as our local 4-H does. With thousands of rabbits who will end up being euthanized because they cannot find enough homes for them all, why are we teaching these kind of values to our children?
    Maybe 4-H has it purpose in a farm community but it has no place teaching kids to breed animals in the city that they have no plan on eating or keeping long term. Those animals end up suffering in shelters or being euthanized. Personally, I think it should be a crime to breed animals just to kill them for no good reason.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • mother of four

      Perhaps you should take your thoughts concerning this issue to your local extension office and offer to give a talk on the care and the indiscriminate breeding of pet rabbits. They are always looking for role models and educated speakers for their youth. If you bring in literature, an interesting approach, and good hands on exhibits (such as shelter rabbits that have been neutered and trained), you'll be well received. This group is about good resource management and animal husbandry and they would not consciously contribute to a problem.

      I am sure that the booths you're referring to aren't being run by the extension office itself; they don't have the resources to raise rabbits. If it is indeed being run by anyone from 4-H it is probably well-meaning project leaders who are simply trying to find homes for the inevitable overflow of rabbits. They probably view it as kinder than euthanizing them.

      Being part of the solution is about more than dealing the results (sheltering the over-flow of rabbits). It's about community outreach and education. If you really believe your local 4-H chapter is part of the problem, then this is where you need to start. Do not take word of mouth as proof. Get involved with the kids themselves.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • Jeff

        Mother of Four, I don't think they want to be "part of the solution." They want to control you and your kids.

        June 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Monica

    I find this headline absolutely crazy... anyone that has ever been in 4-H will tell you the exact opposite. 4-H teaches empathy for animals, how to care and love them and raise them right. The kids are learning how to be great farmers, and unfortunately that also means taking animals to auction. I cried for EVERY single one of my animals I showed in 4-H, and thats 10+ goats and 20+ hogs. I loved and named everyone single one of them, but I also understood that while we love them like pets- they are still livestock. They have a purpose and 4-Hers are simply giving them the best lives they can before that purpose if fullfilled. Not to mention, they raise the healthiest animals around, no better meat, so again they are caring for the human race by producing the healthiest meat products. I am a 4-H advisor and know that one of the best thing I can do for my daughters is raise them on a farm and be in 4-H. I can assure you that a child that has raised animals in 4-H knows so much more about life than one who hasn't. Those who are desensitized are the ones who eat meat but have never raised a farm animal.

    I ask everyone to not comment negatively on an organization you clearly know NOTHING about.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Cherries

      I couldn't agree more. I did FFA in high school, hogs, lambs, and a dairy goat. I understood these animals' sole purposes, but felt great about giving them a dignified life. My dairy goat Rosie is now a milker for a little, local farm.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  17. Jeff

    I find it odd that this article doesn't seem to have a posted author, but who ever they are, they aren't the sharpest tools in the shed. Through out all of human history up until about 150 years ago humans had to survive by killing animals to eat. We started as hunters and then worked our way up to farmers with herds or flocks of animals that were raised and then slaughtered for food and other resources. Children get attached to things easily, but a child that has grown up on a farm knowns that the animals aren't pets; they are a profit making resource and/or source of sustenance. 4-H just exposes kids to that reality who may not normally do so.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • SicPup

      There is no storyline because it is a question.
      Go back to the top and click on the " Five Reasons to Buy from Your Local 4-H" link.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  18. bev b

    Why do you pity the animal over the plant? At least the animal has a chance to run away. The plant's just stuck.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  19. Former Meat Eater

    You Are a JOKE! Why do you assume I know nothing about farming? I am VERY aware of the chemicals and pesticides that are part of the process. Its all part of the same problem, mass production for profit by big business without regard for health or wellbeing of humans or non-human animals!
    Also, no comment on the morality of the issue?

    June 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Joxon

      You seem to only look at one side of the ag industrie. So many poeple today are uneducated about ag and do not know simple facts. Yes there is corpution in the way some companys handle there anamles and the over use of some pesticided. Done properly though it produces a qualtiy product that feeds larger number of people from the same area.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Idaho Farm-Wife

      The products used on crops are to help & protect them from pests/diseases – just like the shots you probably received as a child. Farmers are regulated by the EPA & we have the safest food in the world, as well as most inexpensive.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  20. BS as in this is......

    How did you people get sooooo far of the subject of the article. I have volunteered with 4-H for 8 years and have watched hundereds of kids grow into responsible upstanding citizens. Yes, 4-H teaches kids how to raise farm animals and how to show them. It teaches the kids responsiblity, how to take care of another living creature and at shows it teaches them how to be conifdent and in control. At shows they are really saleing themselves like they would in a job interview. Weather the animal goes to market is up to the family, but even for those that dont chose that course the children get an understanding of the overall picture. It doesnt matter if YOU eat meat or not, you should be correctly educated in where every food product comes from. That way you are not ignorant to life. This is what 4-H teaches, it teaches kids to understand about agriculture, animals, buisness, finance, crafts, community service, sports, public speaking and the world we live in. No, I don't believe that 4-H desensitizes kids to killing, it teaches them how to handle the bad with the good in life.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  21. Good n Bad

    Duh, everyone knows that you don’t have to kill your pets for food. You just have to go to the supermarket to get some meat. And everyone knows that meat comes from a delivery truck. Oh, and peaches come from a can in a factory downtown.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  22. Jennifer

    I'm a former 4-Her. My kids are in 4-H for the first time. Here's what I have to say about this issue:

    Makin' Bacon with Tender Loving Care
    http://www.farmgirlfollies.com/2011/06/makin-bacon-with-tender-loving-care-8523.html

    June 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  23. TRH

    As a consumer of meat, and meat products I'm seriously offended at the suggestion that animals used for human consumption are thought of as "disposable". I've raised animals. I've hunted. I've prepared and eaten my own meat and dairy. To say those items were a result of disposable animals is frankly disgusting to me. I honor the source of my food. Whether it be from an animal or from plants.

    I have more respect for those animals than some of these people who apparently think they're better served just by dying of natural causes and rotting on the ground.

    All kinds of living things kill other living things for sustanance. It's neither morally wrong or right, it's just the natural way of things. To not respect the fact that we ALL depend on each other or suggest those who eat meat don't have that respect is wrong. Plain and simple.

    All this other junk about desensitizing etc is just propaganda by an organization seeking to convert others to their way of thinking. How about this PETA et al, try respecting OTHER'S beliefs. I respect your right to not eat meat. In fact, I generally don't even serve meat as an option when I have vegetarian friends over. But trying to slander and dehumanize those who do eat meat is sick.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Annoyed.

      Very nice comment.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  24. Dave

    Paul McCartney doesn't look like that because he's a vegetarian... he looks that way because he's OLD and BRITISH. :)

    June 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  25. utahsang

    There is a hilarious article on C.N.N today about PETA protesting leather products in L.A one of the organizers was interviewing pople on the street their leather shoes one lady said she had no idea leather shoes were made from cow hides. This is a hoot it is great for a laugh. What does Peta want meat processing plants to do with the cow hides just throw them away? Seems like that would be awfully wasteful of good leather.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  26. Nathan R

    Having worked for the Cooperative Extension Service in Texas, the sentiments presented in this article are horrible and one-sided. The 4-H program is internationally recognized for it's education to youth of the world and teaches youth about everything. Life, death, compassion, caring, community service, reality and to appreciate and understand where our food comes from. The author is trying to villanize a wonderful program to fit their own view of life. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this article is just ridiculous.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  27. LouAz

    Don't they kinda taste like chicken ?

    June 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  28. 4-H Kid

    I am a 13 year old 4-H member. I raise beef cattle, chickens, and sheep. I love my animals! Some animals are not pets and they are meant to be eaten. That means that they are going to die some day. That doesn't mean that I don't care for them, it means that I understand where food comes from. I raise some of the meat that our family eats and I am proud of that. I raise some of the meat that your family eats too. I am proud of that as well.

    I work really hard and give up stuff so that my animals are healthy and well cared for. While other kids are at the pool or sitting in the house playing video games I am feeding, bedding, and cleaning up after animals.

    Thanks you for reading.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Trish

      4-H Kid, you have the best, well spoken and highly educated comment here. You are obviously a very well-rounded, hard working and thoughtful individual and I'm sure you got that way by tending to your livestock every day of the week, hot weather and cold, rain and shine and not sitting inside the house playing video games. You are more mature at 13, than many people here. I too am a former 4-H'r and very proud of the industry and what it teaches children. You are amazing!

      June 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  29. Carnivore

    Meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder. Give me a steak anyway. You can keep your vegan diets to your pale undernourished looking self.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • dodger017

      @Carnivore
      I love Carnivore's meat whistle. I'm a raging sperm-burping gutter slut. I swallow pork swords!

      June 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  30. g05

    One major omittence from this article, is that the sale of the 4H'ers animals give these children college money. Many of these kids live on farms, and already know that these animals are for someone's dinner plate.

    My youngest is a 4H'er and raises her pigs on her half-SILs parents farm (we're more city folk). The sale of her pigs allowed her to contribute to the purchase of her car, something we were not going to do. The rules of the animal husbandry is that they have to take care of their animals, train the pigs to 'walk', learn good sportsmanship in competitions and hope their animal sells.

    We've attended these auctions and have found that many of the people who buy the cattle & pigs, own restaurants. Why? Because the animals meat is the best there is and one owner said he would never buy anything other than 4H raised meat.

    My daughter's "cousins", who live on a farm eat their animals, have seen them slaughtered (a shot to the head) and gutted. They are also all A students and go to college, on 4H earned money.

    It's not just the animals to the 4H, there's project research, public speaking, community service, record keeping, horsemanship (for those that have horses) and a lot more. The girl scouts & boy scouts with their 'badges' (I saw how those were supposedly "earned") do not compare with the 4H. The major part of this is that the KIDS have to do the work, not the parents!

    Let me tell you a story – my oldest daughter was also in the 4H, but we weren't in 'farm' country so the few animals that were entered went home with the families. The 'arts & crafts' rules, were that the kids HAD TO bring in their projects to the judging area. If it was too heavy or awkward for the child, then they had to have other kids help. That's the rules, plain and simple. If a parent helped (obviously the parent drove there), then they were disqualified. The leaders say it over & over & over. Guess what, several kids had their projects rejected because the parent just had to help. Of course the parents were ticked off, but you know what? Too bad. Rules are rules and these had to be followed and I totally agree with them.

    So Heather King, you don't know squat about the entire 4H system. I would rather hire a 4H person than anyone who was in the boy or girl scouts.

    Oh – my then 16 yo girl, was hired over a 17 yo boy because she was in the 4H, and he wasn't. Why, the owner said that every 4H person he had every hired (for summer work) was more responsible & considerate than non-4H kids (boys or girls). That sure says a lot doesn't it?

    June 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  31. Mike

    when i first saw this title i kinda wanted to slap my computer....

    June 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  32. Kara

    I was a 4-H member with livestock projects for ten years. My beef and swine projects taught me a great work ethic. My sisters and I put a higher priority on the care that was given to our animals than we did for ourselves. We put hours every day, into making sure our cattle and hogs had optimal nutrition and living conditions. Growing up on my family's beef cattle farm, I learned to treat animals well because it was the farmers' job to provide the omnivores of the world a wholesome, nutritious and high-qualtiy source of protein. After my 4-H career I even worked in an animal harvest facility for two years. I can truly say that I have raised, harvested and consumed my own beef and pork. I believe it is important for the future of a hungry world that kids have the opportunity to learn how to respect animals, treat them with dignity in life and in harvest, and continue to meet the nutritional needs of a growing population through organizations like 4-H. While I respect those who choose a different dietary lifestyle than myself, there are people all across the world that depend on our U.S. supply of animal protein. It is vital to educate the next generation on how to meet that need.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  33. smokey

    Someone should have told our ancestors about how atrociousness their hunting behavior was and they should have just starved. Then we wouldn't be having this 'debate' today... mostly because we wouldn't be here today.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  34. Hick@Heart

    I did not do 4-h, but I did raise my own cow every 4 years for slaughter. For my family it was a way to cut the cost of beef. We could have up to 10 people at my house for dinner on a given night and raising our own beef and having a family garden helped take down the cost of things. I would say that I am not desensitized to the death of an animal, but its a different feeling than when a person I know dies. For me an animal is an animal. They do feel pain, happiness, and sadness; but its an animal. If its purpose is to become food then that's its purpose in life. Yes I felt sad when my cat got hit by a car, even recently when my goat of 16 years died of old age. But I don't spend the day crying, I had an emptiness in my heart for a moment or two, then moved on. If a person in my life dies then that is a different story. IT was a PERSON, who could TALK to me, INFLUENCE my life in some way. Totally different then watching the butcher come out with his truck, load up his shot gun and shoot my cow (whom we named Beef-Cake), because I knew that he filled his purpose, and that he had a good life on my little farm in CA.
    4-H teaches youth about farming and animal husbandry. Many of these students come from farming families and 4-H provides a group setting where different people come and instruct the kids on how to care for animals, grow different foods and make crafts. These are skills that are going extinct in our country/day.
    Let me ask you this? Can you go a week without going to the market to get food? Can you in your urban settings grow your own garden to feed your family? Can you raise your own chickens for eggs/food, raise your own dairy cows for milk and make butter? For most of us we would answer "No".
    We need groups like 4-H and FFA to teach this generation how to raise animals and grow our foods.
    Remember "Without Farmers, there is NO food".

    June 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  35. meme

    This article is silly and only a further example of the liberal agenda of the media. Only someone extremely ignorant could mistaken the killing of animals as bad. We have thousands of medicines, medical procedures, medical devices, surviving communities from famine, clothing, transportation, protection, and many mores things all from using animals, often having to kill them.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  36. dodger017

    Most UFC/MMA fighters are vegan/vegetarian. So those sissy hippies can eat their salad and than whoop the ignorant shit out of you manly meat eating tough guys.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Jeff

      Never bring a Vegan to a gun fight.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Joxon

      Yes most UFC/MMA are vegitarians not vegans because many people (expessily UFC/MMA fighters) consider themselfs vegitarians evan though they eat eggs and fish.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • TheDefender777

      WELL said dodge017!!!

      Corpse munchers wouldn't last 30 seconds in the cage AND they NEED to overcompensate with machismo for the fact that most are impotent by clogging their arteries with all that cholesterol!!!

      LOL!!!

      June 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • dodger017

      I confess, I don't eat meat, except for my boyfriend's throat sausage. And no meat byproducts, except for throat yogurt. I like an occasional meatpipe in the seat, or sausage in the can.

      June 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  37. healthnut

    I think American eat way too much meat. I for the most eat meat only about once a week if that. With that said though just because you eat meat doesn't mean you are unhealthy as if we see most of are elite athletes are meat eaters. On the other side just because you are vegetarian doesn't mean all you eat is salads. There's many options of food out there for vegetarians and also it doesn't quite mean you are healthier. Remember sugar people. Now my problem with vegetarians is that much like religious extremist, they try to push too much of their beliefs and practices on others.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  38. ThomD

    I'm guessing that more than one card holding PETA member is one of those complainers. Simply put, get out of your Manhattan apartment, get your hands dirty WORKING the land and feeding yourself and you'll be eating cow. And I'm not talking The Fabulous Beekman Boys working the land.... If I had been "desensitized" as a 4H member, stupid comments from ignorant people who not get me as angry as this did!

    June 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  39. rodeomom

    I was heavy in 4h. I cried when i sold my first steer, but guess what, all of those 11 yrs in $h taught me how to respect, take care, of all my animals from horses to chickens. NOW my 11 yr daughter is in her 3rd yr in 4h. She has taken goats, and gets very upset when they have to be sold, BUT she will tell ya that the money she gets from them will help her in her future. She is the one that feeds, cleans, doctors her goats, she feeds her horses etc. So far it has taught everything she needs to know about animals. She knows where they will end up, and where. 4H is a GREAT thing to have your kids into. Yes some do cry, but they get over it as soon as they get that check in the mail. There was a girl in my county that was in 4h for 11 yrs. guess what she bought a house and paid for her first yr in college IN CASH in FULL with the money she earned from selling her animals at the county fairs. WOW right there tells ya something how well 4h is.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  40. Kelly

    4-H isn't just about animals and farming! 4-H kids today also do robotics, rocketry and computer science too! The best part is that kids choose what they want to do.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  41. 3133t

    What is wrong with CNN? Not everyone needs to buy into the latte sipping, metrosexual, multi-cultural, BULL$h1+ they continue to dish out.

    Someday there will be an article about how stupid people look driving a Prius and wearing skinny jeans.

    Get a life CNN.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Jeff

      What is wrong with CNN? I think the answer is obvious. It is run by liberal ignoramuses who won't be content until everybody lives, thinks and even eats EXACTLY LIKE THEM.

      And what is funny is that they think we are the intolerant ones.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Annoyed.

      lol

      June 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Anti-Metro

      I concur, you are my new hero.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  42. stupidpeople

    Whoever wrote this article obviously needs a reality check. I live on a farm and I am currently majoring in animal science. Raising livestock for slaughtering purposes is part of nature. Yes we get attached to them, but it's part of life. I was NEVER desensitized due to the fact or how i was brought up. I love animals and would never do something to them i thought was unethical. I am currently paying for an education to help those animals who need it. Do you still think im a killer? Look around at how horses suffer ever since the horse slaughter act was put into place. They are let loose, because people aren't able to feed them. They end up wondering around being hit by cars or worse suffer, starve to death and die. To those who think killing livestock is horrible, you think letting them suffer and die is better? Obviously if you think so, you should reconsider the way you live your life and your thoughts. You are worse than those who support slaughtering for food and educational purposes.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  43. Joxon

    The 4-H, FFA are great orginizations that help kids out. I guess the people aginst these orginizations have there kids sit at home a wach tv and play on facebook all day.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  44. ashtonmeints

    First of all, 4-H is not all about livestock. 4-H involves crafts, sewing, cooking, baking, heritage, and horticulture. 4-H clubs are designed to educate youth on basic skills. 4-H helps youth to make positive choices, become involved in their community, and develop responsibility.
    Second of all, one comment stated "This group helps desensitize youngsters into having no emotional attachment to animals raised for food." I am not sure about anyone else ever involved in 4-H, but I had way more of an emotional attachment to my animals than anyone not in 4-H. I thought that was a good thing? Also, 4-H does not slaughter the animals–the slaughterhouses do. I was never encouraged in 4-H to slaughter my animals or not care about what happened to them. 4-H does not give "points" for killing animals–so perhaps people that believe this should check into the video games, websites, and television shows that their children are watching before speaking.
    Third of all, one comment stated that, "This is pretty disgusting. It's like what Hitler and the Catholic church does. Get people when there young and warp their minds. " Can you honestly refer to 4-H and Hitler in the same sentence? First of all, these animals would be slaughtered regardless of whether the kids were in 4-H or not. 4-H is used to educate children and the only mind warping it does is education and responsibility. What is so wrong about knowing how the food supply works? Nothing.
    Finally, 4-H requires every 4-Her who shows livestock to attend a Quality Assurance training before they are allowed to show. This is required every year unless the students test out at an older age. Quality Assurance training teaches students how to take care of their animals, raise them correctly, and treat them humanely.
    4-H goes above and beyond to teach students about their animals and how to treat them humanely. Before you compare 4-H to Hitler or try to say that 4-H encourages killing, check your facts. Then go in the living room and look at what your children are watching. I can almost guarantee students have seen and heard more about killing on television, video games, and on the playground than they have in 4-H.
    I rest my case.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  45. Matt

    People are omnivores, that's the way it goes. The USDA has strict laws in place for the humane handling of animals that are bred to be food. I guess the people who moan about meat eaters would also think sharks are murderous and would try to make them eat seaweed so the little fish didn't get "murdered".

    June 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  46. Susan

    Children growing up on farms have experienced the slaughtering of animals long before 4 H was even a glimmer in someone's eye. This is the most ludicrous story title I've ever read.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  47. Thepoint

    Wow, Carnivore, your argument is so inspiring, so intelligent. Yes, you have swayed me, SWAYED ME.
    Giggle.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  48. dodger017

    Absolutely every single thing you just posted is pure bullshit man, every single word from the top to the bottom.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
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