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. Mr Phil

    Unless these detractors are vegans, they should shut the h3ll up. I'm willing to bet at least some of them just prefer their meat in neat little styrfoam and saran wrap packages.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  2. ydoucare

    You can tell some of you idiots have probably never stepped outside of a city block and have no idea what goes on in 4-h. Most kids grow attached to their animals, because you know, people are emotional beings. The worst part about it is selling or auctioning it off. What kids learn, is reality. It doesn't desensitize them, rather helps them mature.. The problem is oversensitive idiots like some of the commenters featured in this article who have been pampered their whole life that do not understand reality and know nothing about livestock other than that they can eat it at McDonalds.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  3. geezus

    the question is WHY do we eat meat, wear leather, but love our dogs? let's shift the question. as a vegetrian of over 30 years I'm happy, healthy and don't have to kill other living creatures who lives inhumane lives just so i can get a TRILL of someone liking my handbag or shoes or gobbling down a steak to appease my tastebuds for a few minutes.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  4. Monica

    This is a truly sickening article. And in no way correctly displays what 4-H is about. Shame on you for writing it and shame on you, CNN, for putting it on your site. This kind of untruthful TRASH, is the reason that so many people have a problem with farmers. They don't care enough to look for the truth but read some outrageous article and run with it. Yesterday PETA was protesting the National Holstein convention. Tomorrow they will be yelling at our children on the way to camp or while showing their pride and joys(livestock) at the local show. SHAME

    June 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  5. thb

    I do not care what others say. I have decided I can not eat an animal without its consent. And since no animal is going to consent to sacrifice for my stomach, I have become a veggie.

    There are ones tell me God give them to us as food. Well, obviously God forgot to inform them, because none of them seem to be happy to be killed.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • NotAgain

      You do know Jesus ate fish....right?

      June 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • thb

        So?

        I am no Jesus.

        June 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • cjm71

      Do you thinkthe Robin that eats the worm getsconsent from the worm before it eats it? Or the fox that eats the goose? Etc . . . It is the way the natural world works. If you don't want to eat meat, that is fine. You did not say that you believe that those who eat meat are ging against God, but is that what you are getting at?

      June 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
      • thb

        I do not know about Robin but I think I likely have more compassion than a fox has. That's how nature works is just such a lame excuse, there are animals kill their own kind for food, so it's ok to be a cannibal? When did we give up the idea that we can be better than animals?

        I did not say if you eat animal you are non-christian. I just do not believe the animals were given to us as food, that is all.

        June 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Seriously???

      Not true. He obviously did, my pet pig told me he was the best tasting BLT ever... HA!

      June 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  6. SILVERFIESTA

    I would like to know how many of you who are soooo vigorously defending the non-slaughter point of view are also pro-life when it comes to abortion??? How about preborn babies – let's talk about what is really important instead of this foolishness regarding meat.
    I would never defend abusing animals but I will eat what was placed on this earth to be eaten and defend the right of helpless babies to be given their life.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  7. Melanie Wilt

    First, it is important to note that 4-H was not started by the USDA, as you incorrectly stated above. It was started as a boys and girls club in Springfield, Ohio by A.B. Graham, a man who wanted to teach the local kids how to raise food and improve food system. This became the premise for the Extension Service (also not part of USDA). The Extension service is part of our Land Grant University system, which is supported in part by federal programs.

    Second, I would content that 4-H actually serves to cultivate sensitivity to the lives of all animals regardless of their ultimate purpose. Children learn about different environments for raising animals and experience the human-animal bond. More than 95% of the population consumes meat, milk and eggs, and we all generations need to understand how to effectively nourish human life in a responsible and sustainable way. This means farming in a variety of ways. In addition to teaching how to sustain human life through the nourishment that animals provide, 4-H also teaches about companionship (dogs and cats), recreation (horses), veterinary science (animal health), animal nutrition (used for improving pet and livestock foods), and food and nutrition. If anything, 4-H allows children to experience how valuable and important each and every living creature's life is to the Circle of Life, and that being the top of the food chain, we possess a greater responsibility for ensuring that care exists for all of God's creatures.

    By the way, those of you vegans who will attack this statement, please respect my philosophy. It differs from yours, but we are both entitled to our perspectives. Respectfully yours, Melanie

    June 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  8. cjm71

    i am sure that those who are oppossed to the 4H and see the org as molding killers, are also the vegan types that push their ideas on others (not all vegans). I have no problem with vegans, unless they push their view on me or others. If anything, 4H teached kids respect for the animlas that they eat. How many kids and adults have no thought, whatsoever, about where the steak they ate came from, and often times throw away food that they can not finish on their plate. I would bet that the kids who grow up attending 4H events have much more respect and consideration for the animlas that eventually become our food and wasting uneaten food.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  9. Lawdog1521

    If I had posted an article about how the Hip Hop culture desensitizes kids to violence I would be labeled a racist. But apparently it’s okay for social elitist to label us country folk however they like.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Former 4Her

      You are so right.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  10. jholderbaum

    People are getting too soft in this country. How will you ever survive?

    June 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Jeff

      They won't. If the supermarkets are ever empty, most of them will starve. The survivors will form rampaging mobs that will spread out through the suburbs and urban areas, eating anything edible that they can find. Eventually a few will arrive at the farms that they deride so much, and will be at the mercy of the "dirty farmers."

      They need to pray to the God they don't believe in that the magic food maker in the back of the grocery store never gives out.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  11. wopboptorledo

    It's people like you!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  12. wopboptorledo

    It's people like you.........

    June 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  13. Ultor

    I am also a 4-H alum. If you think having a working understanding of how the food industry actually functions is some how a negative, and doesn't instill a healthy respect for the animal you might be eating at dinner tonight and the care and work that goes into raising it, you're delusional.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  14. United States Citizen by birth!

    I was born in 1945. I was raised on a farm. You people must be from another planet. We grew crops of every kind. We raised chickens for eggs and for food. We raised pigs for food. We raised cows for food. We hunted Quail, Rabbits,Squirrels, Turkey and deer for food. All this wasen't available like it is now in it's neatly plastic packaged place on the Wal-Mart shelf. Hello, We KILLED them! I was not raised in the neat subourban world you live in or the nice big city with it's gangs that KILL PEOPLE and have children that have to find their way back into a gang to survive. I have been a machinest, tool and dye maker. a bussiness owner. I was raised with christian values and have never been arrested for anything. Well, I quess you can see what all that killing did to me. You let your dreamscape dissapear and we will see what you have for lunch! I loved my childhood and the killing was not a big thing that I think of. What you have a squirrel making a hole in your roof. Honey! where's my shotgun, we are having squirrel tonight.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  15. cindy

    I grew up on a cattle ranch and was a 4-H er for seven years. I raised steers and sheep that were sold at auction and slaughtered. Growing up in that culture, I didn't know any other way and the sale of those animals subsidized my college education. However, I was traumatized by the loss of those beautiful animals, my pets. I would find them in cattle trucks before they were hauled off and bid them a tearful good-bye and would grieve for weeks after. I still can't pass a cattle truck on the road without crying, fifty years later. I was traumatized but sensitized and am committed to animal rights. I haven't touched beef or lamb in 30 years and currently only eat fish. Parents, do not assume that your children are emotionally/mentally managing the difficult terrain of raising animals that become treasured pets for slaughter.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  16. David

    I've forced myself to read a lot of ill-informed, stupid (defined as willful ignorance) articles and posts on cnn.com but I have rarely been offered such a feast of outlandish and false positions. There are a lot of good reasons to be a vegetarian but moral superiority isn't one of them. You're more evolved becasue you have a brain and therefore choose to eat plants? Oh, please. There are a lot good reasons to eat meat but moral superiority isn't one of them. The state of U.S. industrial agriculture is nothing to celebrate. The use of chemicals and factory methods is not to be excused. That doesn't negate eating meat that you've hiunted or raised yourself.

    And what is truly sad is that too many on both sides of this issue are so far removed from actual life processes, it's enough to make you weep – and reach for an organic beer.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  17. Makes sense

    I thought this was a fair and appropriate followup to the author's previous article about why you should buy from 4-H. The author didn't randomly ask the question of "desensitization." Instead, it was debated in the comments posted to the previous article, so this followup topic makes sense. And the number of comments posted here shows there are a lot of passionate views.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  18. Andy

    How does one get so far removed from reality to see 4H as a pernicious evil perpetrated upon our youth? Eat much? Wear much? Sythetics the way to go for clothes? What about all that horrible oil? Once we get rid of that, then what will we wear? Cotton – then we will hear about how the cotton plants can feel pain and need to be protected. It is amazing to me that the idea that 4H is bad is held be anybody who eats food. 4H is important and helps children to have a balanced view of the world in which we live. Long live 4H!!!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  19. Someone's Mom

    I work with adults who know how to find all the entertainment in town, but don't realize the fruit and vegetables they find in the grocery store grow in dirt and should be washed...that to be safe, meat should be cooked to a certain temperature and handled in a sanitary way, that you can bread a pork chop with flour or crumbs if you don't have a box of Shake 'n Bake. A 4-H-er knows all that and more. 4-H makes good citizens who are self reliant and knowledgable.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  20. Dairy Girl

    I was raised in 4-H as well as my 6 other siblings. We did dairy judging and also raised hefiers and steers. All 3 of my children have also raised calves. The heifers we put back into the herd and they are usually the best at rearing quality calves. The steers are slaughtered by our family and this usually feeds us for a year. Undoubtly some of you have never had a great steak that has been hand raised!!!! Best you will ever have. Most of your finer restaurants will also offer to buy 4-H calves because they know the meat is great!!!! So, get all your facts before you look like a complete FOOL because you don't know what your talking about and also, slaughter houses are the cleanest places!!! Ever heard of USDA!!!! They are governed!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  21. Ohio Farm Girl

    I was a 10 year member of 4-H. During that time, I exhibited market projects at our county fair, including lambs, rabbits, and pigs. I grew attached to my projects, but I always understood that at the end, they would be sold and slaughtered. I was not desensitized to the killing; at the end of the project, I shed a few tears, but then I moved on. 4-H is a remarkable program that taught me leadership, responsibility, and the importance of a solid work ethic. I credit those experiences with my desire to live on a family farm today. People need to realize that animals are raised to fulfill many needs in our society, including the need for safe, affordable protein. 4-H is one way that youth can gain that insight.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  22. ThatsWhyTheyCallMeThumper

    @Carnivore Eating Vegans is a special treat. It gives you long ears and great big feet. (But is sure is awful stuff to eat)...I made that last part up myself!

    When I grew up, we used to use toy guns and shoot the TV screen when watching Bambi because we couldn't go hunting...

    Ya know vegans can go on and on about mis-treatment of animals blah blah blah...but there are WAY more mis-treatments of the land and sacred earth in regular crop farming. The problem is death has been hidden away from society, it is not something people are used to. They're afraid of an every day, common occurrence. Don't wanna eat meat? I say good....more more me...

    June 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  23. Be Real

    To those of you who are arguing about the raising of an animal and then killing it for food, because that is what the animal is for...well you are probably the hypocrites that would want a tiger, crocodile or shark killed for attacking a human...If humans eating animals is ok to you, then don't get mad when a truly carnivorous animal eats a human.

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

      Yeah, the vegetarians get so hysterical over these articles they forget that humans are animals too, and part of the circle of life.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • SharkFood

      @BeReal Your Idea = Fail

      Sharks/Tigers/Crocs are not raising us for food....if you had some meat maybe your brain could evolve enough to form a proper argument.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • Be Real

        Apparently your cognitive skills are "failed"...because you completely missed my point. I would stay out of the water if I was you, you may become what your name suggests...

        June 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  24. OnicaZ

    As a former 4-H member and FFA member, I truly believe that there is no better "gang" to belong to than these two organizations. From the age of 8 to 18 I was actively involved in as many aspects of 4-H as possible. I showed sheep and cattle, competed in the Food and Nutrition competion, participated in 4-H Round-up, and was a member of the Fashion Show/Sewing part of the club. The thing about 4-H I'll never forget is level of leadership it instills in our youth. From the early age of 8, public speaking was implemented at our meeting. In front of a room full of fellow members and parents, we were required to stand up and state the progress of our project. With public speaking being the number one fear in our county, beating out death (yes, as Jerry Seinfeld states the majority of us would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy), starting kids early eases some of that speaking anxiety; I should know, I'm now Speech teacher with Master's degree. This degree would not have been possible without the leadership, speaking, and interview skills I learning through this wonderful organization. My senior year of high school, after years and years of 4-H public speaking events and interviews for 4-H, I sat before a panel of judges for a scholarship. I ended up receiving this scholarship which paid for my entire undergrad education. I couldn't have been more blessed. I realize that none of this has anything to do with killing, but that's my point. 4-H is so much more. Did I know that my sheep were headed to slaughter? Yes. While in high school did I take a trip to the local slaughterhouse to view carcasses and cuts of meat? Yes. However, this did not desensitive me. It educated me. It educated me not only about the food chain and agriculture, but on science and biology. I learned the food and exercise I was providing the animal with was going to produce certain results; stronger muscles, leaner meat, less fatty cover over the meat, level of marbling. These are all things that apply our human bodies as well; exercise, food intake, amount of fat...health choices me make on a daily basis. Am I against cruel treatment of animals? Absolutely. But maturely watching the process helped me realize that there is nothing cruel about the was 4-H and FFA member produced animals are treated. Is a person who has thier beloved family dog or cat put to asleep accused of being desensitived to killing because they killing an animal this isn't even going to eaten? Heck no! So why are we? Our ancestors (and I say "our" because all of ancestors did it) hunted and fished for food. This supplied them with nutrition. I am totally against "trophy killing" such as killing wild game that are not going to be eaten, but if an animal (sheep, steer, chicken, pig, goat, rabbit, whitetail buck, gator, fish, etc...) is going to eaten and provide nourishment, thus revolving the circle of life, that's nature, science, common sense. For those nay-sayers out there, did you speak out against the life cycle lesson in biology class? Probably not because you headed to lunch after class to enjoy your hamburger, a hamburger that had meat in which its sources were unknown. Anyone watch Jamie Oliver? I'm an avid follower of his show and his philosophy. Anyone watch the last episode? High schools did not know that milk or butter came from a cow. They didn't know that popcorn came from corn. That's a sad lesson America! Our kids don't know where their food comes from! They just eat...and eat...and eat, having no knowledge of the effect is plays on their bodies...thus obesity. Let's open our eyes folks, 4-H teaches so much more. According to studies 4-Hers are nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school (we also implement the "no pass, no play/show/compete" policy), two times more likely to go to college, and 25% more likely to positively impact their communities. I'm sorry, but that doesn't sound like nazi-esque, heartless, blood thirsty killers to me.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • David

      Whoa, slow down there, Cowboy. As wrong and ill-informed as many posters are here, let's not put 4-H on a pedestal just on your say-so.

      I get just as tired as the bleating that farmers are the salt of the earth and can do wrong as I do from listening to the "twigs-and-dirt" crowd of vegetarians.

      4-H can legitimately stand some criticism. In particular, 4-H, at least in Wiscoinsin where I had my longest exposure, makes a contest out of everything. And then insists on everyone winning. As a former 4-H county fair judge, I gave up because I was tired of the pressure from the leaders and parents to give out multiple blue ribbons in every class. That ignores the life lesson that there are winners and losers and sometimes a kid puts out bad work just to earn the county fair premium.
      My favorite was the 4-H leader who ripped me a new one for not giving her club any kind of ribbon because the kids had worked so hard. And it was HER reflection in at least one of the photos taken to "document" that hard work.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
      • David

        sorry. I meant can do NO wrong.

        June 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
      • OnicaZ

        I agree with the life lesson of winners and losers, and from my 10 year 4-H experience in Texas, all of which I worked my butt off with my projects, I came home with ribbons of all colors. Not all of us received blue ribbons, that would have been unheard of in my neck of the woods. If my sheep was the best, I got Grand Champion. If it didn't hold a candle to the $1,000 lambs in the ring with it at the San Antonio Stock Show, I got the gate. Yes it is competitve, but if its not showmanship, people have to remember that the judge is judging the animal, not the exhibitor. Its also important for them to remember that the judge is but one person, and everyone has the right to their own opinion (judges included!). That's something they care going to encounter thier entire lives. Thank you for clarifying that 4-H can vary from state to state.

        June 23, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  25. Justin

    I guess my first reaction to this article is total shock. Having been in 4-H I find it hard to believe that anyone would lump the humane way we raised animals into the same category as feed lots and CAFOs that turn agriculture into an assembly line. There are some truly stupid people on here spouting a bunch of non-sense! I don't care how you get your food it has to come from somewhere. Why would you attack the dwindling number of people doing it in the most moral way possible?

    June 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  26. Omnivore

    Okay vegetarians, biology 101. Humans = omnivores. Omnivores = animals. Humans = animals. Animals can eat meat if they want to.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • LOVE_FACTS

      @Omnivore, lol! this might help you too. Read Maneka Gandhi's Heads and Tails. Highly Recommended. If you have a receptive mind, you would understand the difference between various categories of animals, including humans. Ciao!

      June 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  27. Zaphod2011

    I don't known about 4H but some of you get pretty mad at people who just happen not to believe in eating meat. I happen to like animals but I am not a vegan.
    What I find more offensive, disgusting and disturbing is that "tradition" for lack of a better word of putting a rifle in the hands of a small child whose brain and body are still developing and teach them how to kill animals by going hunting. There are plenty of supermarkets where you can buy food. This is the 21st century. You don't have to kill your food!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Joxon

      Really! Thats part of the problem. Just go to the grocery store they have food. I strated hunting when I was 9. I was driving, rasing and processing and cooking my own food. There are people in there 20's and thirtys that could not do what I was before I was a teenager. I know own my own compney teaching people moving from the citys to the country how to manage farms.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Jeff

      The best use of a rifle is not to hunt for food. The best use of a rifle is to defend our culture and traditions from those who would take them away from us. And, by extension, to defend our farms from the starving hoards that would come pillaging if the supermarkets were ever empty.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Jen

      Ignorance is bliss, huh?

      You have no idea what hunting entails if that's your opinion. I've been hunting since age 12, and I plan to teach my kids as well. They're 6, 4, and 2, and they've already seen me shoot rabbits out of the garden. They also know how to spot a buck rub in the woods and what type of trees surround our house. You have more respect for your food and your environment when you're a hunter. ... Course, it must be nice to keep your hands clean and let someone else kill your food for you. Supermarket my foot.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  28. Texas DQ

    I only got about a third of the way through all the comments before I barged in on this conversation. I am a hunter and fisherman. I have always hunted animals for meat that I can't get at the store...aka, venison, antelope, etc...once I killed that animal, the first thing I did was shed tears...they are indeed beautiful animals. Then I thanked God that he provided for me. But after I cleaned my animal, cooked my animal and ate my animal, I no longer cried, but instead felt like...I was full. And complete. I'm wondering where these fools are going to get their food once the world implodes...I'll still be here, hunting and fishing for mine...heck, I might even grow a few vegetables...

    June 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  29. kay

    Vegetarianism is a luxury in our society. We are so stinking spoiled because we think times are rough when they really aren't, and we can STILL afford to have non meat eaters in our society. The fact that food is still so abundant that many have the LUXURY of making this food choice is a testament to how NON cruel we are. A savage nation and people simply could not/would not live this good. They just wouldn't have the cognitive ability.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  30. Steve

    Hollywood movies slaughtering, torturing, raping = good entertainment.

    Killing animals for food = desensitizing our youth to killing, and therefore bad.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  31. Bob Berg

    All this BS from the "vegetable killers" who think nothing of killing helpless plants to keep their miserable meaty bodies alive.... Amazing how egotistical they are as they stereotype which form of life is "OK" and "not OK" to eat based upon their own personal preferences. We're animals- we have to kill something to stay alive. There is no other way, except by committing suicide- and I wish some of you snooty plant killers would do just that!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Omnivore

      Exactly, animals and plants are all living things. If the difference is that one can think for itself, then shouldn't the vegetarians be trying to eat brain dead humans? I mean they can't think anymore right?

      June 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  32. Randy Flatus

    I've read Rifkin et al about the evils of meat production including cruelty, environmental impact, labor concerns and more. There are some truly compelling reasons to move away from eating meat as a species. I respect anyone who chooses not to eat meat for ethical or health reasons.

    That being said I personally DGAF. Every time I see whiny veggies spouting the same tired crap I resolve to eat a big juicy steak before the day is over. Not everybody feels the need to pick up the torch of food ethics, nor should they. DIAF, evangelical vegans.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  33. Craig

    Why is this article targeting the 4H. If you do not believe in humans eating animals, that is your choice. The 4H does a lot of things, but desensitizing children is not one of them. If you have been given the opportunity to participate in any 4H or FFA events you will see compassionate and very respectful children. These programs help teach students how to work together and also give great leadership and speaking skills.
    Most children learn the reality that the food they eat comes from farm animals regardless of their involvement in 4H. Lets face it, if cattle and other animals weren’t being raised and bred for production purposes we wouldn’t have many of them in this country! That is why they are being feed, housed and tended too!
    I have no problem with someone pushing their agenda of not consuming animal products. I have the right to love eating them, just as much as they have the right to think its disgusting........but don’t attack a program that is bettering the leaders of tomorrow!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • LearnToRead

      I'm sorry but where in this article is the 4-H organization being targeted? Where it mentions the motto of the 4-H organization? Where it talks about proud future farmers?
      If you had actually read this article for comprehension rather than just skimming the surface you would have realized that this article is presenting two side of an argument. The entire reason this article exists is because of an article posted yesterday PRAISING the 4-H organization which resulted in people insinuating that the 4-H club "desensitizes" kids. The only negative comments against the 4-H organization are from people on the internet who commented. This article was created in order to give more feedback on BOTH sides of the fences.
      Next time I suggest reading the entire article, and then rereading it, before making outlandish comments.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  34. Kelly

    My 17 year old has raised and sold 4 steers as part of his 4H Beef Clubs. He has learnt not only good feeding and housing habits for raising top quality beef but also a strong sense of being responsible for another living being , the value of hard work and importance of a healthy lifestyle for both himself and the animals he raises. What more could you ask of a program that has a $50 per year membership fee. No soccer or hockey coach could instill these values.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  35. Joxon

    This article shows how little people get educated on where there food comes form. You may live in a little appartment and only understand that the grocery store has food. Don't go arount wrighting articles on subjucts you have no knowledge of.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  36. kay

    It's real easy in our current civilization for someone to jump on their sef righteous soap box preaching about the evil of meat The reason we even HAVE that luxury in our current society is because how we live now was built on the hard labor of the backs of meat eaters. Back in the middle ages in Europe, it was consiered a crime for peasants to eat meat. They were killed if caught. The reason: Meat eaters were smarter. Royalty back then wanted to keep the peasants dumbed down. I've known a number of vegetarians, vegans, as a matter of fact, and none of them seemed that bright. I care deeply for my vegan friends, but I think there is an element in animal products that positively affects intelligence.
    I won't debate the ethics of some of the slaughterhouse conditions, since I realize they aren't great at all, but I think meat eating is essential for propert cognitive development and function. Keep in mind also that one cow will feed a family of four for about six months, but one chicken will only feed that family for one meal, so more killing is done when eating chicken or fish.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  37. Sarcasim

    I teach my kids not to get emotionally attached to people. That way if you want to get an abortion later in life it will not be a problem.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  38. Ag teacher

    really? I am disappointed in this article. The 4H is an amazing youth organization and you all should be ashamed!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Jeff

      Dissapointed but not surprised. This is just an effort to reboot the moribund animal rights movement by people who haven't the foggiest idea how food is produced.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  39. Omnivore

    Perhaps we should just satisfy all the vegetarians and exterminate all the carnivorous species on the planet. After all, they eat meat for food too, right? I mean imagine the sheer terror a poor deer goes through when a mountain lion leaps at him! OMG! Cute little deer! Big evil mountain lion! OMG!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  40. Tim

    Keep it up city dwellers, trucks and tractors wont run too long on rainbow power. I can hear you stomachs growling all the way out here!

    June 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  41. Crystal Cattle

    I was a 4-H member from the age of 9-18 year old, and I am proud to call myself an alumni. I participated in both the Steer (these animals went from meat consumption) and the Heifer Project (these were breedering projects that I kept in my herd). 4-H didn't desensitize me to killing, it did all of the positive things that you mentioned above taught me animal husbandry skills, responsibility, life skills. It's purpose was not to desensitize me to killing. I spent more time with my projects that my friends, I had compassionate towards them, they were important to me, but I also knew that the steers I was raising were for food purposes. And because I knew someone would be eating that meat I wanted to ensure it was raised in the best and healthiest way possible.

    Every day I utilize the skills I learned in 4-H both on my farm and in my office job. 4-H makes better citizens for your communities and that is something to support. http://www.crystalcattle.com

    June 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  42. Sarah

    Everyone is different... has different feelings and objections.
    If we were all the same the world would not be as interesting as it is.

    Just because you have an opinion about something you have no personal knowledge of yourself, does not mean you need to put others down for the way they feel or their choices, unless if effects you directly....

    Get a life people... AND WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF ONLY...

    June 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  43. healthnut

    Dodgr can you name me these guys cause I think you are getting misinformed or intentionally putting wrong info on here. I'm not a big mma fan but the major guys that are well known in the sport are not vegans or vegetarians. I'm not saying that vegetarians can't be strong and manly as my diet consumes minimal meat but i just don't like misinformed comments.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  44. Kyle Lee

    I hardly know how to respond to this debate. As a lifelong supporter of 4-H, I learned the practical reality that steak doesn't grow on trees. More importantly, its a choice – if you can't see the value in having your own children participate in a program that gives many meaningful experiences and lifelong freindships – then don't, but don't tear it down just because you disagree.

    There are many programs not perfectly suited to many particularly individuals – but make the choice for yourself and find the respect to recognize that others may choose 4-H as a great avenue to grow the minds of our future.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  45. Omnivore

    LOL at the "holier than thou" attitude of the vegetarians, accusing everyone else of being inhuman. You want to be a real human? There's a reason humanity evolved with canines and not just molars. Read: We're omnivores.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  46. iloveidaho

    are you kidding me? i raised steers for 4-H for ten years and it never got any easier when auction time came around. I cried with the auctioneer shouting on and on and walking what we called "the green mile" nearly killed me every time. Yes i knew it had to be done and those 10 years of hard ass work paid for my college education with one check but i still have pictures of my Oscar, and Fritz, my favorites. They taught me valuable lessons and how to care for living things and I still tear up when I think of the green mile, but it had to be done.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  47. Teresa

    I am sad to see 4-H getting a bad name. It did sooooo much for me when growing up. First, 4-H is NOT all about animals. It’s one the biggest misconceptions. Think of anything, and there is a project. 4-H helped me learn about how to take care of my money, how to write checks and keep a bank account. It taught me how to do laundry which helped me prepare myself to live on my own. It taught me how to cook. There are soooo many different cooking projects for example one project just about microwave meals which helped me in college. I also did sewing projects and other clothing projects which have help me go shopping and find good deals. 4-H also goes beyond the projects, you make friends and you have great memories at camps and other activities. 4-H also taught me how to run meetings properly and how to be a great leader. I was lucky enough to be president of my club and I learned about the importance of leadership. Most of all 4-H helped me find my passion for teaching. As I got older, I worked with the younger members helping them with their projects and this helped me make the decision that I want to be a teacher. 4-H is a very very good program that helps child and young adults for the future.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  48. SicPup

    It's actually rather funny. The original article praises 4H, but someone at CNN gave life to an entire sub culture here by headlining a coulpe of the comments made against that viewpoint. One of the livliest topics I've seen in a while – good job.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  49. n_rockey

    Yeah, sure, 4-H is desensitizing kids to killing. It has nothing to do with all the TV shows, video games, or even the nightly news shows that routinely show violence and death. I grew up on a farm, and was in 4-H for many years. You learn that these animals may serve as pets for a short time, but in the bigger scheme of things they are being raised as food for humans. At least I know where the food I eat comes from, and how much work goes into producing that meal. It's an appreciation that fewer and fewer people have these days. Also, if something were to happen to the food supply tomorrow, at least I have an education about how to sustain my family and myself. Would it be easy, NO, but at least I wouldn't have to sit around wondering where the government was, and waiting for them to save me like so many people do whenever there is some sort of a disaster. Honestly, I think it's a basic education everyone should have.

    June 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
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