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. disgruntled animal-killer

    And, why not do an article on Cartoon Network or something that is ACTUALLY not good for kids?!?

    September 12, 2014 at 5:07 am |
  2. disgruntled animal-killer

    Wow, this is possibly the dumbest thing I have ever read. CNN really hires people like this?? I must be a much more terrible person than I thought (being a lifetime 4-H member)! This of course is proven by the fact I have six animals, graduated college, two little girls (also cold-hearted animal killers), An amazing job, a 210k house, and still participates in animal rescue. Much of which I acquired with skills learned in 4-H.

    September 12, 2014 at 4:55 am |
  3. Denise

    ok so please unless you understand what FFA and 4-H is all about please dont put it down one of hte Modles are Learning by Doing and we have this life skills whel that we use in 4-H my son is 19 and 4-H and FFA have been a huge part of his life as well am mine. it is different than girl scouts and Boy Scouts is is whre a child can show who they are. Head Heart Hands Health is what 4H stands for the pledge is 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.

    -H Colors
    The 4-H colors are green and white.

    Green is nature's most common color and represents youth, life and growth. White symbolizes purity and high ideals.

    4-H Motto
    To Make the Best Better

    I believe in 4-H Club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen.

    I believe in the training of my HEAD for the power it will give me to think, plan and to reason.

    I believe in the training of my HEART for the nobleness it will give me to be kind, sympathetic and true.

    I believe in the training of my HANDS for the ability it will give me to be helpful, skillful, and useful.

    I believe in the trainingof my HEALTH for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, to resist disease, and to work efficiently.

    I believe in my country, my state, and my community and in my responsibility for their development. In all these things

    I believe, and am willing to dedicate my efforts to their fulfillment
    Learning to learn
    Problem solving
    Critical thinking
    Service learning
    Goal setting
    Wise use of resources
    Keeping Records
    Social Skills
    Conflict Resolution
    Accepting Differences
    Concern for others
    Community Servicevolunteering
    Contribution to group
    Healthy life-style
    Stress Management
    Disease Prevention
    Personal Safety
    Self Esteem
    Self responsibility
    Managing feelings
    Self Discipline
    as for FFA
    The National FFA Organization is an American youth organization, specifically a career and technical student organization, based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education. The organization was founded in 1928 as Future Farmers of America, but in 1988 the name was changed to the National FFA Organization, now commonly referred to as simply FFA, to recognize that the organization is for those with diverse interests in the food, fiber and natural resource industries, encompassing science, business and technology in addition to production agriculture. Today FFA is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with 579,678 members in 7,570 chapters throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. FFA is the largest of the career and technical student organizations in U.S. schools.Developing leadership, cooperation and citizenship for tomorrow's agriculturalists–this is the main goal of the National FFA Organization. For more than 70 years, the FFA has complemented agricultural instruction by making classroom lessons come to life through realistic application. From its beginnings in 1928 with 33 delegates at the first national convention, it has grown to encompass over 490,000 members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

    The original idea for the organization was fostered after courses in vocational agriculture were established by the National Vocational Education Act in 1917. In the early 1920's, Virginia formed a Future Farmers club for boys in agriculture classes. This innovation caught fire across the country and the National Organization was born in 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri. National dues to the Future Farmers of America were set at 10 cents per member.

    Membership grew, and the following year's convention was distinguished by the selection of the national colors and the naming of the first Star Farmer of America. By 1934, the only state which had not chartered an association was Rhode Island. As the years went by, the organization began providing services to support its expanding membership. In 1939, a National FFA Camp was founded on the grounds that went on to hold the National FFA Center for over 50 years. In 1998 the center was moved to Indianapolis, Indiana.

    The National FFA Foundation was created in 1944 to provide funds from business and industry to support new programs. Public Law 740, passed by congress in 1951, granted the FFA a federal charter. 1952 marked the establishment of The National Future Farmer Magazine.

    A merger of the New Farmers of America, the organization for black agricultural students, with the FFA took place in 1965. More new members were admitted in 1969 when the delegates voted to allow girls to become members.

    The next two decades would bring a host of new programs and changes, designed to keep pace with the evolving membership and rapidly changing needs of the agricultural industry. The National FFA Alumni Association was formed in 1971, bringing another arm of support to the organization. In 1988, the delegates voted to change the official name from the Future Farmers of America to the National FFA Organization. Another name change occurred in 1989, that of the magazine to FFA New Horizons.

    This information taken from the National FFA Organization's Official Manual.

    it is about carring giving working belonging living and thinking and mananging and Realting...

    September 12, 2014 at 4:21 am |
  4. Amy

    As a 4-H leader and a mother of 2 boys who take the Market Lamb project I find this article very upsetting. I wish more journalist would do their research before publishing articles like this, it makes 4-H look like a terrible organization. I wish you would have talked to the children about how they feel about raising and selling their animals. My boys take pride in raising good quality animals that people want to purchase just to feed their family. We can tell them exactly what that animal ate and assure them that there are no steroids or hormones in their meat. We don't guarantee antibiotic free because if an animal gets sick we promptly treat them with what our veterinarian recommends. We do however follow the drug manufacturers recommended withdraw periods. Yes, I admit it is sad knowing what the fate of some off these animals but knowing we use a reputable butcher helps to ease sadness. We know the animals were treated ethically and did not suffer. My boys do offer discounts to buyers wanting to use a ewe for breeding. The next time you are buying meat of any kind not, at your local grocery store ask the butcher on duty what that animal ate and can he guarantee its steroid, antibiotic and hormone free. I bet he can't but your local 4-Her can. If you choose not to eat meat that is your choice
    My question is if God did not intend for humans to eat the animals he put on this earth then why did he make them full of nutrients for our bodies? And that's what we believe here at our house.

    September 12, 2014 at 3:37 am |
  5. Quincey

    when we go into this project we know that we have to sell our animals, I can't tell you how many times I've loaded my steer onto the trailer and cry, it does hurt when they leave. But I know that I gave them the best life they could possibly have and I'm grateful for that. and "pet" is such a horrible description of these animals they're not pets. They are our MARKET animals. Market means slaughter. It's just how we were raised. We know what happens to any animal for market. I'm a 3rd generation exhibitor and it's made me a better person I know how to balance a check book (ask any 20 yr old to do that they'll say I don't know trust me!), I know how to deposit checks, I found confidence in myself and speaking to buyers,farmers,politicians, judges, and everyone else! I'm forever blessed with my experiences in 4-H

    September 12, 2014 at 1:57 am |
  6. Joe Anderson


    September 11, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
  7. Amanda

    I am a 4-H leader. I cannot tell you how many times my club kids have been attacked (usually verbally) over being in 4-H. I have watched shy kids gain confidence. I have held their hand as they say goodbye to their project animal. I have hugged them and their parents as they cried. These children are not desensitized.

    They are however raised with a knowledge of where their meat comes from. The importance of not taking the life of an animal for granted. They are also raised with a keen awareness caring for another being. They raise money for their projects by working hard and then coming home to work with their animals. It is not vicious.

    They also tend to use local processing so it is more humane than a large meat packing plant. 4-H also teaches children the value of your time and effort.

    All I ask is that before you judge the program, talk to your local county extension office. See is they have resources to help you understand what the program is. Don't attack these kids for having a passion that you don't have any knowledge about.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
  8. Erin

    This article is complete BULL!! These people have obviously never raised a market show animal. In the term it's self it says market, so yes these pigs are shown and sold for market. The part that these people are leaving out is the fact that people like me raise these hogs and we become attached. This is a problem because it makes it in the end harder for the person. Me and my brother have raised 5 market show hogs and everyone has been sold because that is their purpose, but that doesn't mean it was easy. If you want to bash this program, then you better not eat bacon, ham, or any other meat from a hog. If you don't want the pig to be killed don't raise ones for market there are other types of shows that do not in the end result in the hog being sold.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
  9. 11-year 4-H member and now volunteer

    I was raised in 4-H and I am now an animal science major with a concentration in pre-veterinary studies. Here's what I have to say:
    1.) Slaughter is humane (the animal is made unconscious, THEN killed). But you won't listen to that, because you think eating animals is wrong. We will never agree on this point, so don't try to convince me that it is and I won't try to convince you that it isn't.
    2.) If you really think that 4-H is desensitizing animals to slaughter when most don't see the animal being slaughtered after it is sold, what is your opinion of high-violence video games and violence (murder, war, etc.) in movies? That's a little more common than farm kids, don't you think?
    4-H teaches youth to respect our animals and take care of them. It also teaches them about many other areas of life as well (cooking, sciences, robotics, crop sciences, fine arts, etc.). 4-Hers grow steers and other animals with the intent of a sale barn, yes, but how does that desensitize a person to killing? If anything, it makes them more aware of the work, time, feelings and strength that go into raising an animal. No 4-Her or 4-H alum takes for granted any of the food on their plate. How exactly are we desensitizing ourselves when we immerse ourselves into raising and showing an animal? Every cattle kid knows the grief of putting their steer onto that trailer. But every cattle kid knows the pride that comes from watching a family eat a meal and knowing they've played a part in making that happen.
    On another note, I worked as a veterinary assistant for my internship this past summer. Preparing an animal for euthanasia was NEVER easy, no matter how many times I did it! You cannot become "desensitized" when you are in an occupation with animals (and if we didn't love animals, we wouldn't be in an ag occupation–other jobs pay way more). Every euthanasia and every steer and every other meat animal is a heartache. But it's necessary. You may not believe or agree with me, but I don't care. I'm proud of the way this organization teaches respect and care. You may say eating meat is wrong, but you will never convince me or most of the people on this planet. I love animals. I want to devote my life to their care and medical needs. But I will never place an animal on equal ground with a human. 4-H is an agriculture-based organisation. If you really have a problem with slaughter, then you don't have a problem with 4-H, but agriculture. And agriculture is necessary for food, gas, science, leather, wood, and many other products. We are not desensitized because of 4-H. Would I be working my rear off to be a vet if I was? I stand with the green and white, along with millions of other 4-H alumni. And that is my opinion.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
    • 11-year 4-H member and now volunteer

      That second point should say kids instead of animals. Pardon me.

      September 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
  10. Joanna

    All I'm going to say is that I am a 10 year 4-H member and I would not leave this organization for anything. I was never "desensitized" to killing animals. I loved all my animals. I can still remember all their names. As I ate a piece of bacon or a porkburger, I knew exactly what pig of mine I was eating. We are not "cold blooded killers." On the other hand, unlike some people in this world, we know where our food came from and what went into producing it. I've done much more that raise animals. I've made posters, rockets, crafts, and participated in showmanship. I've improved my speaking abilities, made new friends, and worked selling items. I became organized, timely, and well written.

    September 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
  11. Kate

    It shouldn't surprise me anymore, but I still can't believe how incredibly ignorant people are. I just completed my 10th and final year in 4-h and 4th in FFA and raised swine. It hurts to think that people actually think that kids 9-18 years old get some sort of sick enjoyment of seeing their hard work and possibly best friend be put on a trailer. Oh and that teaches kids that relationships are disposable? You're focusing on the final seconds of the journey. We all know what happens after we part with our animals and for those that have yet to learn, it's education. God put animals on this earth to raise and eat. Both which 4-H teaches us how to do properly. If you try believe that being a member of 4-H has desensitized me, you seriously have no perception if reality. I'm currently going to school to become an agriculture education teacher, so I can be apart of educating the future of our country about the importance and correct methods of farming so we can feed the world. So before you go and make ignorant comments, educate yourself.

    September 11, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
  12. aj

    to: heather king

    this year i showed a pig in 4-H and i had the experiance of a life time. and yes i will say that it was kind of sad when i sold my pig. but this is how i think of it. when i went to the farm that i picked out my piglet i thought ya know if i buy this pig im giving it a better life, cause if i didnt buy it some commercial farmer would of bought it and would of abused it and then 5 months later forced it in to a trailer sent it to slaughter and then would of went with a bunch of other pigs onto a platform and then electricuted to death and then cut up and packaged and then sent to a store. But instead i bought that piglet gave warm shelter, played with it fed all the time. then when fair came i brought it to the fair and showed it and it obviosly was having a good time cause it slept most of the time. and then i auctioned it and then that night it went to butcher and was killed peacfully and then packaged and sent to the person who bought my pig so in all i gave that pig a better life and so did thousands of other people so i say what do you think now heather king huh! what do you think

    sincerly AJ

    September 1, 2014 at 3:21 am |
  13. Karen

    Wow!!! My daughter is in 4-h we show animals!! Please tell me were does the meat in the grocery stores come from?? Animals!! Those animals are raised feed out and mistreated from day one !! 4-h animals aren't yes they are loved and then they leave.. It's not nice either way but its life !!!! 4-h animals are feed right treated right live in nice conditions .. If you knew how the animals was treated in the packing plants then put into the locally stores you would not eat it !!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2014 at 9:53 am |
  14. vanessa

    i am in 4h i do not sell my animals i just show them. but i do have friends in ffa and 4h that sell their animals for meat and i seen them beat pigs up till they bled and i seen one pigs tail had her skin ripped off. I am a vegan and I know what's right. i know killing is wrong. I feel as though 4h is kinda sick in ways. i was raised seeing animals slaughtered and ever since i was a young girl i knew it was not right it was something that just stuck in my head.

    July 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
    • 4H mom

      Vanessa- I'm so sorry your 4H and FFA friends treated their animals badly. But that is not the majority. Growing up can be hard and as a child you may not have understood how to better those situations. You have choices as I tell my own children, you don't have to sit by and watch others being mistreated whether human or animal. You could have told an adult or could have spoken up to the kids doing the hitting, or you could have pushed those people out of your life. If they can't respect their animal friends how can they respect friendships.
      Also, just as not all people are good, not all poor people are in gangs and sadly not all 4H kids are ethical but 4H teaches it. Kids take online classes and sign contracts over humane handling. In out 4H community those same kids would lose their right to show and could even get thrown out of 4H. I personally can't speak for your 4H clubs in your area as I don't know the people but ours is great. Our kids are respectful, loving and caring to their animals. And we have a lot of parent involvement, I can honestly say for most of our parents, if they saw their kids being inhumane they would take their animal away.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
    • benjaminhough

      I am a 4-H Member, I do show animals nor sell them. I do Woodworking, Model Rockets, and making dioramas. However, I do know people who do sell there animals. I can't imagine someone treating their animals as you have described. But this is a problem with certain people, not the general population. Animals are animals, they are not people. Animals were created by God to nourish and supply humans with the food we need. I believe that 4-Hers are taught the humane way to treat animals.

      September 12, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  15. None your

    I hate 4-H!

    July 1, 2014 at 9:44 am |
    • benjaminhough

      How could you hate 4-H, it prepares youth for life. Would you rather these kids be on the street killing humans?

      September 12, 2014 at 11:39 am |
  16. 4-H Mom

    to Heather King and all others who are negatively commenting on kids raising animals for meat as their 4H projects......for one, you are speaking as though you are educated about 4H, clearly you are not. But mostly, I'd like to know your stance on abortions!..........then we'll talk.

    May 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
    • Thread Patrol

      You're a day late, a dollar short and in the wrong forum. Buh-bye.

      May 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
      • 4-H Mom

        Nice attitude "thread patrol"......"day late, and a dollar short", "wrong forum" (I posted a reply directly to the topic), such a nice response from you. It's obvious that it's an older post, and also that what I posted must have struck a nerve for you. As we enter the 4H season your post pops up under certain Google searches. Apparently some uneducated people have large opinions on 4H. Relax and quit being a jerk. And "buh bye"? So mature. So sad.

        May 16, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
    • vanessa

      hell if an animals wanted an abortion i would be more than happy to give her one if she did not want her baby. but we ar not even talking about abortion this is about 4h and animals. just because someone gets an abortion doesn't make it right for others to kill already form beings.

      July 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
  17. Name*Tracy Bean

    Cold blooded killers! Really? As a parent of two 4-H kids and someone who didn't grow up around this group i am amazed at the things my children have learned. We raise and show Boer goats,cattle and hogs. We are all attached to our animals but we have also learned a great appreciation for the circle of life. We have all cried our eyes out after shows when we had to load our animal onto the trailer. But it also have taught by girls so much about life and death. To say it teaches them to not look at their animals as pets is so far from the truth. We name them, care for them and love them. We are very attached to them! I am proud of what my girls have accomplished through the 4-H and FFA programs and the kids that come out of these organizations are outstanding citizens who go on to graduate college and give back to the organizations that helped them become the people they are. There is also so much more to the organizations they earn scholarships, do speeches and many other aspects that have nothing to do with animals but agriculture in general. If there wasn't 4-H and FFA who would put the food on your table? Not the creator of the iPhone!
    Proud Parent Of 4-Her's

    December 10, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • louise


      April 25, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
      • Paul Newman

        Louise, I need you to find the nearest Scrabble set, collect all the letters, then eat them. Then during your next bowel movement, write down the order of the letters, because that will make more sense than what you just wrote. And your grammar, just remove yourself from the gene pool now, and try not to drool.

        September 12, 2014 at 9:23 am |
        • Mavis Beacon

          Can you imagine what it took to actually type all that gibberish? *shudder*

          September 12, 2014 at 10:03 am |
      • Rocky

        I wish this had the "like" button for all the INFORMED comments about 4-H .... and the ones that are so full of BS, are just to be ignored. I could not even read the one from "Louise" – it was such gibberish & all that unneeded punctuation was so distracting ... I got her disturbed gist of her "opinion" and it still did not make sense. As someone else said, hopefully she is NOT reproducing .....

        September 12, 2014 at 11:12 am |
  18. Bonnie Caldron

    Did the Jonathan Ames letter come yet? I signed up in January and that i genuinely actually hope I didn't miss it. Is there a way I can study it if it did already come?

    November 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  19. Dorinda Rendle

    Brilliant write-up many thanks! Seems to function perfectly well along with the latest versions of wordpress as well (3.3)
    Made the code a lot cleaner as mentioned and seems to have made life less difficult when trying to implement the comments form into side areas ect. (Had a nightmare with previous use on the normal code)

    November 12, 2013 at 5:43 am |
  20. Without AG yall would be naked and hungry

    Without the innovation of 4-H and FFA their has been many improvements how things are grown, taken care of,and built. Without agriculture dealing with your vegetables, animals, and clothing everybody would be cold and hungry.
    These programs have put the foundation of leadership, kindness, and dedication in the kids that are in the program.
    I was in FFA for 4 years and I loved every bit of it, and yes it would break my heart that 2/5 goats that i had went to the slaughter house, but you know what, if YOU don't want to hear about where the animals are going then take your asses to a auction and purchase an animal. Tell the kid he will be sent to a farm to live his life, and you will see the releaf in the kids face and heart. In FFA their are high school kids, and you wont know how many teenagers cried over their animals. If you actually cared about the kids then stop watching them and talking your shit and go buy the animal. The money that the kids get are encouraged to use it for higher educational purposes. I am able to go to college with new stuff like a backpack, laptop, and books with the money I got from my animals.

    August 14, 2013 at 9:29 am |
  21. Mel

    I am all for people and their thoughts but you have it wrong. Its a crock of bull that you think being in 4-H is bad. You know how many kids have have went further into the livestock industry because of things like 4-H. As a fellow 4=H alum I think you are wrong. Because of 4-H I work at a dream job. I became the person I am today because I enjoyed it and it kept me out of trouble. It taught me respect, understand, hard work, dedication and much more. How dare you judge us for being in 4-H. Come spend a day in our shoes.

    July 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  22. Teena

    Hello to all, it's actually a good for me to go to see this web page, it consists of important Information.

    May 15, 2013 at 1:46 am |
  23. allison bruce

    i am a 14 year old girl who is devoted to 4-H, i can say personally i have been taught so much! 4-H is not all about selling your animals for meat, allthough that is our common stero type. we learn about leadership , responsibility, devotion, communication skills, compatability, genorasity, compassion, we even learn a little bit about math with the role of the treasureure. cant you see that when you stero type us it hurts!! most to all of us are completely loving and caring for our animals no matter where they are going in the end. we probally love our animals more then the common child. i show dogs as my main hobby/ project. it teaches me pataice and to have a slow temper, because i know that my dog is just learning and no matter what happens in the ring i will always love him( he is an aussie named truman). i am compassonaite about 4-H, infact i have been in it since i was 5 and a half that like 8-9 years!!! 4-hers do a thing called presentation day were we learn communication and speaking skills. we have to prepare and present a 5-8 minute presentations with boards ao a power point. it is nerve racking but it teaches us to follow through. my club wins the slo county gold seal every year because our officers books win gold i am currently the vice president and i love it! look iam just saying that you can speak your opinon but dont make it seem like we are heartless brats because our motto is to make the best better and i belive that we are making best kid better.
    just read our pledge:
    as a true 4-H member... i pledge my head to clearer thinking my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my heath to better living for my club my community my country and my world.

    March 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  24. 4-H Proud

    As a 14 year old, female 4-H-er, I can honestly say that I am appalled at this article. I can also say that it most certainly does NOT desensitize us to killing of animals. I have been a member of 4-H since I was 5 years old, and involved with it since birth. I've shown goats, cows, sheep, chickens, and pigs.

    For those of you who say the way we treat the animals is cruel, it isn't. In pig shows we use sticks to guide the animal. We may tap them to make them move a certain direction, and use a bit of force, but in no way do we "beat them half to death" with it. The same goes with showing beef cattle. We aren't stabbing the cow, we are using pressure points so that they will position their feet correctly, similar to a doctor's visit when they tap your knees to test your reflexes. When we push the sides of an animal to make it move, we don't use excessive force, to a human it might be, but for a 200-1200 pound animal, it's simply enough to make it move a little. When you walk throught the livestock barns at the fair, and don't see any food or water, it isn't that we are depriving them of it, it simply isn't feeding time. We walk them to the water every hour or so, and feed them plenty at least twice a day, and they usually have constant access to hay.

    For those of you who claim that we are "de-sensitized" or "don't know what happens after they get sold", trust me, we know... and yes, feel sorry for the animal in some ways. We know that after the fair, dairy cattle will be sent to a dariy farm and milked (And yes the calves on the farm do get REAL milk, and get PLENTY of it along with feed), Beef cattle will either be bred or slaughtered, Pigs will be bred or slaughtered, and so forth. If you've ever seen us working with our animals, or washing them, we are most often sweet-talking and petting the animals. If you've seen us at the sales, tears are shed at the parting of our animals and ourselves. However, we know and respect the fact that God put them on this Earth for apurpose, and take pride in knowing that they were raised properly and kindly, better than most of the animals that end up on your grocery store shelves.

    For those of you who say that the animals aren't treated right after the fair, they are. Have you ever been to our farms? the pens won't be "Spotless" But they are animals after all. The enlosures are outside, spacious, and with access to shelter, food, and water. They might not be petted as often, but they are given attention daily.

    All in all 4-H DOES NOT DESINSETIZE US!!! It teaches us respect for the animals, the life cycle, leadership skills, and so much more. It is a COMPLETELY positive organization. If you have a problem with us, come to the fair and talk to us about it. Thank you.

    – A proud SC 4-Her

    February 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  25. Kathy Cobb

    I'm sorry, but you are all full of crap. It's all wrong. Whether you buy your meat at a grocery store or raise it "the right way." It is still killing.

    Animals in the commercial meat industry suffer greatly. And it's also wrong to raise an animal as a pet, then auction it off to the highest bidder. It's a betrayal.

    It's easy to talk about the value of 4H and the circle of life; you don't have to do the dying.

    One day, we humans may no longer be at the top of the food chain, then, you will see things differently.

    Humans do not HAVE to eat meat; they choose to. Just as they choose to make excuses for why it's o.k.

    The first step is to say "this is wrong." even if you don't have all the answers yet. Because if enough people stand up and say that it's wrong, solutions will come, and change will happen.

    And yes, I am vegetarian.

    February 7, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • louise


      April 25, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
    • 4-H Rocks

      You're also a delusional lunatic. We evolved as meat eaters. Our brain needs vitamins from meat to function correctly.

      September 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • Erin

      Sorry, but my mom work in a dentist office for 20 years and she will be the first to tell you we can't live without meat. Our teeth are shaped to eat meats and vegetables and fruits. So you saying this is a lack of education. Plus people you are vegetarians most of the time are less health than those who eat meat.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
  26. Kathy Cobb

    You guys all talk a good game, but one day, humans are NOT going to be at the top of the food chain. We are going to be the ones taken to slaughterhouses. Then, your views will be quite different.

    It's easy for you to talk about the circle of life, having respect for the animal, or doing things the right way . . . you don't have to do the suffering or the dying.

    It's a betrayal to raise an animal as a pet, then sell them to the highest bidder. It's also wrong the way animals are treated in commercial slaughterhouses.

    The first step in evolving or promoting change is to say "this is wrong." Even if you don't have the solution. Because once enough people say "this is wrong." Solutions, and change will come.

    And yes, I am vegetarian.

    February 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • eva

      What is it you think will be at the top of the food chain above humans? Are you spending too much time watching those alien history shows? I don't what it is you think will be above humans. I came across this while doing research about 4-H I have three children two are old enough to be in 4-H now and take care of their animals (mostly on their own) I think it's a fantastic way for them to learn responsibility and develop strong social skills. I personally think animals taste delicious and children need to except and understand the process of where meat comes from. Its animals, some one has to raise them, some one will eat them its never going to stop Cathy Cobb, so its important that children are taught how to care for animals properly (even if they are just for meat). What exactly is it people like you think would happen if we didn't animals? Cows just roam around, breeding, making more cows to roam around, then what... Like deer in the wild population control is a must, we hunt because it feeds our families, but it also helps keep balance. Over population in an area (by animals) isn't going to solve any problems its going to cause them. The circle of life isn't just about the order of how things happen its a need, we need the circle of life, and its livestock's role to be nutrition for people who chose to eat meat. 4-H in my opinion (as a mother of three and someone who was not raised on a farm and loves delicious animal meat) is a fantastic program and I can't wait to see the way 4-H helps my children grow, mature and develop. I also look forward to how it affects the things they think they want to do as a career when they grow up. ( right now my daughter wants to be an artist and my oldest son wants to be an orthodontist, maybe they will want to be vets or own farms or one of the many other things 4-h has to offer might influence their future career decisions like photography) I normally don't comment on things like this but there was that lady who just went overboard on how awful 4-H is and I think that's wrong, just because she thinks its totally wrong to kill animals doesn't mean that the 4-H program is wrong for teaching children about the process. There are many things I don't agree with in life but that doesn't mean i think they are wrong, they just are not for me but I know they serve a purpose for others and that makes it important.

      March 4, 2013 at 5:34 am |
      • louise


        April 25, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • Public Service Announcement!

          Don't try to blog when you've been hitting the sauce or are completely baked...

          April 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • eva

      also, what is it you think would happen to the economy if we raised children thinking farming and killing animals for food is wrong...? Lets say everyone jumped on your boat and everyone decided it was wrong, now people don't own pig, cattle or chicken farms ect... which makes them pretty much useless animals so now we have a bunch of animals that are not serving their purpose. So what do we do with them? The slaughter houses will close, there will be no need for truckers who transport the livestock, meat processing plants will close, and the quality control inspectors at these places and the managers and owner and employees of all these places that have their finger in the meat business... its ridiculousness to think that people quitting eating meat and stopping programs that educate children about the process of farming and stuff related to this topic is a good thing, its a bad thing to change the way things are with this topic. Animals are for food and people need to farm and slaughter animals they've been doing it one way or another for ever and it will and needs to continue for many reasons.

      March 4, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • Rocky

      Kathy Cobb – being a vegetarian, did you EVER consider that 4-H also teaches CROP production, gardening, along with ALL other aspects of maintaining a life. Not sure where you life, but when "you" go to slaughter, good luck – those of us in the western US will still be doing our own hunting & gathering to survive. Get out of the city & LEARN about life.

      September 12, 2014 at 11:17 am |
  27. Love 4-H!!

    I am currently in 4-H and FFA and both of my parents are leaders. If you don't think we have an emotional attachment you obviously have never been to a county fair. I cried my eyes out when I sold my first steer. It may be sad but it is the circle of life. I make money from all the animals i sell, and the buyers eat the meat. I put all the money toward college. I love 4-H; always will. I can raise beef and a lamb. 4-H teaches responsibility,not to be lazy, and much common sense that I would not have learned without 4-H. The next time you judge 4-H or farming and ranching, do your research not on the internet actually go to a farm, a county fair. and talk to 4-Hers. See what they have to say. I would sure as heck love to tell someone what really goes on. ENJOY YOUR MEAT!!! P.S. Where do you think all of the farmers and ranchers who raise meat today came from?? (Hint ~ lots of them were in 4-H!)

    November 18, 2012 at 12:06 am |
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  32. Mason

    I am sorry. I am a vegetarian and I love 4-H! I have nothing against animals being used for meat. I dont eat meat because I feel better (Physically) when I dont eat it. 4-H has nothing to do with hating... In fact its the complete opposite... It teaches you to love other people and treat them with respect. 4-H Educates youth to work well in any environment and gives kid the opportunity to expand their knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of anything they would like to know. I am so sorry you have not been effected the way I have, but you really should know more about the people before you make false statements... I raised sheep and goats, rabbits and ducks... And for your information... I named each and everyone of them... I did not eat them... but I took care of them. :) Smile Jesus Loves you!

    August 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Mason

      Thank you for not being bias in your quotes... :)

      August 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
      • Omni

        Thank you, Mason, for your viewpoint. I agree, 4-H has nothing to do with hating ... I think the story meant, some people hate 4-H. The story doesn't have a very good headline and starts off a little badly. I do like it for presenting for and against. I too don't eat meat, but I understand why people do and feel that they need or want to. I don't bash meat-eaters :). I just ask people to try to be careful about where their food comes from, to try to buy from compassionate sources, like 4-H. And truly, I don't think this story is bashing 4-H ... just making the point that it's hard on kids to raise animals and then send them to slaughter. I agree with that perspective, being a former farm girl :).

        August 10, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  33. 4-H Educator

    I am not surprised that CNN ran this story. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and NBC are only too happy to run stories that are meant to destroy our American values. I grew up on a farm. We raised cows, horses, sheep ,and 4-H pigs. Both my brother and I raised and showed sheep and pigs. My Daddy took me to the local bank to borrow the money to buy that first lamb. I was nine years old. When I sold "Baby" I cried. I wasn't too happy about paying back the bank either, BUT, I learned valuable life lessons: some animals are raised for food and, when you incur a debt, you pay it back with interest! As an adult I served as a 4-H professional educator for 36 years. During that time, my son became a 4-H member and showed pigs. He was also involved in the Small Engines, Automotive, Foods, Public Speaking, and Leadership Projects. He is now a Lt. Colonel and Batallion Commander in the Texas National Guard, a good husband and father. He is making a difference in his country and community. His story is only one among thousands I could relate about how 4-H has influenced the lives of children from farms, rural areas, and inner cities. 4-H members and former members are good solid citizens. They contribute to society – not take from it. They are leaders in their homes, schools, churches, communities, states, and country. They are homemakers, scientists, teachers, farmers, doctors and lawyers. They serve in all walks of life. On their behalf, and that of the many professionals and volunteers who believe in and work for hese youth. I am HIGHLY OFFENDED by this story. If CNN did due diligence and researched the true value of
    4-H, the largest youth organization in the world, they would be telling a different story. That, however, would be too much to ask of this news (and I use that term lightly), organization. Want to show how our youth are being desensitized to killing? Do a story on video games, movies, TV, and gangs. Leave youth organizations that help develop citizens who make thier world a BETTER place alone!

    August 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Omni

      Please read the story. It includes positive viewpoints about 4-H that you would like and appreciate. I think a story is unbiased if it includes both sides ... and this one does.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  34. Scrappy

    Wow, I am SO sorry, but I beg to disagree ... I think it's terribly hard on kids to have to "kill their project" as someone says. To me, that statement there says, yes, 4-H does, in some sense, desensitize kids to killing. You are calling a living, feeling creature "a project." I was in 4-H myself. There were great aspects about it, but I do believe it teaches us as a society to treat an animal as a commodity. You raise it, love it, and then, sell it to slaughter. I went to college on a scholarship based on academic achievement, not on pain and suffering caused to a sentient being. And I took out student loans and worked like crazy. Again, I don't mean to offend, and I know I'll get yelled at and blasted for my opinion, but it's a valid opinion. I'm not saying 4-H'ers are cruel people in any way. I think they're kind and caring and are the salt of the earth. But let's just be honest about this and not sugarcoat it.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  35. 4-H and FFA all the way!

    I’m in 4-H and FFA and without both of these organizations I don’t know where I would be! Both of 4-H and FFA have helped me decided on what I want my major in college to be (Agribusiness and possibly Agriculture Education.) I live on a cow calf operation, and I’ve shown cattle for seven years. Because of this I’ve made a countless amount of friends, gain so many leadership skills, and have been able to serve as an officer in my 4-H club. When you go to the fair you see 4-H’ers and FFA’ers fitting their calves. We’ve spent the whole year getting ready to show that steer off, and we want that calf to be the best he can be. When you win with that steer, whether it’s a showmanship class or a market class, it is the best feeling on earth!! Finally when you’re in the sale pen and you’re showing off your calf for the last time, you look up and you see all the buyers biding on your animal, it’s unbelievable! Knowing that you raised a calf that someone WANTS to buy is one of the most rewarding experiences! Not to mention most of us are using our sale money for college. One the last day of fair many members are found lying on their calves crying. How can anyone say that’s desensitizing us to killing our projects? We’re proud of them, and we care about them. If we didn’t care about our animals, then why did we spend our whole year raising them? 4-H and FFA are both amazing programs and I know they will always be part of my life. And someday when I have children, they will be involved in and 4-H and FFA!

    August 8, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  36. Austin

    I serve on the State Executive Board for Louisiana 4-H. This board of thirty youth oversee all youth 4-H events at every level to make sure that they are run efficiently, they are educational, and that they are fun for all 4-H'ers in attendance. You can obviously see that when the 4-H community feels attacked, they come back with a vengeance. But let's cover the issue at hand. In Louisiana raising livestock in any form is considered a project. When the members begin the project (usually in elementary school), they are given a project that teaches them how to feed and nurture their animals. As the 4-H'ers get older the project books become more challenging and offer more advanced information. 4-H agents and volunteers are always ready to help the members when and their families when the members have a problem. Sometimes the members come from farming families; simultaneously, the simple 4-H project has become vital in strengthening family involvement. Together, they rejoice when that Angus steer wins grand champion and console each other through the tears when that same steer is auctioned and sold. These children are not desensitized; 4-H'ers grow and mature through this project. They learn how to love and care for animals, unlike some urban areas where the children treat their pets like dish towels. These 4-H'ers gain work ethic, MORALS, and a new respect for farmers.

    August 7, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Andy hunt

      Hi i first want to say i agree fully with you Austin and i am a 4her and in FFA AND a beef farmer i live in minnesota where my family raises Horned polled and club calved HEREFORDS so i was just saying i agree with you except for the part were you say AN NGUSSTEER IT COULD BE ANY bred such as hereford blackbaldie charolia

      October 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  37. Gare

    This article is really a joke. 4-H does not stand for "hatred towards animals". Try reading our pledge and motto.

    "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."

    Where is hatred in there or the ruthless children slaughtering animals? Our motto is to make the best better.

    4-H is a lot like FFA (Future Farmers of America) with the agricultural side but that is only ONE aspect of this great national youth organization. It's wrong of you (arthur of article that decided to be nameless) to pick out one part of 4-H and then to twist it to benefit your view.

    4-H offers more than showing cattle, hogs, horses, and other farm animals at state fairs across the country. It teaches youth in all forms, races, and ages about healthy lifestyles, community service, public speaking, and networking. This article should not be aiming readers to hate children for living on a farm. The author should change the title to "Does video games desensitize kids to killing?", it sounds more appropriate and accurate.

    In all of my years of being active in this great organization I have never heard of anything remotely more absurd. I was always involved with summer camp, community service projects, county 4-H events such as workshops to prepare for District Project Achievement (a public speaking competition in over 30 different categories), district events (Competing at District Project Achievement against 10-15 other peers in the same category and/or weekend retreats to learn about financial literacy, internet safety, or health classes and community service projects of making cards for our troops overseas and helping out with the 4-H program Operation Military Kids.), state events (State Congress where you compete with other kids at the project achievement level to win a master 4-H'er status award and eligibility to go to the National 4-H Congress, running for a State 4-H Board of Directors Board Member where you campaign against peers across the entire state, 4-H Healthy Lifestyles Ambassador, 4-H Technology Team, etc.), national events (National 4-H Congress, 4-H Citizen Washington Focus–where 4-H'ers spend a week in Washington, D.C. learning about our nations capital and about politics, several other 4-H teams compete on the national level), and world wide events (such as seeing how other 4-H organizations operate in different parts of the world such as Puerto Rico).

    There are so many other activities and events that a child can do in the organization of 4-H that was not listed above. 4-H is not only for rural children but made for children living inside America's great cities as well. How can a child take care of a pig, cow, horse, or other animal while living inside a metropolis such as New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., or Atlanta? Also, 4-H on a national scale has been implementing the new standards for the 4-H SET (Science, Engineering, and Technology) curriculum. This goes hand in hand with what the government has challenged our nations' schools with promoting more children to go to college and pursue a career in the Science, Engineering, or Technology fields to compete on a global scale.

    So, tell me readers, "haters", CNN editorial staff how can this organization of 4-H that prepares a child for public speaking, networking, community service, a love and understanding of their country, and greater sense for future college and career goals make a child desensitized to killing? Why don't you publish a study by several research based institutions? 4-H is ran through land grant research based universities. Please do your research before you criticize something that is preparing your child for the future. Our children our the future of our country.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Scrappy

      Please read the article. CNN is just raising a questions about one aspect of 4-H; it is not saying anything about hating the entire organization. In addition, if you read the article, it gives both criticism and praise for 4-H. I appreciate your viewpoint and support for 4-H; it's wonderful and your comments are really educational. But, honestly, I find it so odd that so many 4-H'ers have leapt to defend something that's not even being attacked. In addition, at the end of the article, it notes that 4-H teaches other things beside animal husbandry. I'm not sure if I'm proud that 4-H'ers defend their organization with such passion, or dismayed that 4-H'ers don't appear to utilizing their reading/critical thinking skills. Again, great that 4-H folks are proud of their group and it sounds like a lot of good happens there (and I remember plenty of good stuff from my days in 4-H), but everyone needs to apply their critical thinking skills here.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Korey

      I'm not going to to sit here and write a book for you to read to get my point across... I'm just going to leave you with a statement that was told to me by my local sheriff and parish District Attorney: "You never here about 4-Hers in the news, or anywhere for that matter, being put in jail for stealing, selling/buying drugs, or being in any kind of trouble with the law." Why do you ask? Because we as 4-Hers are too busy with our projects, whether it be in leadership, science, engineering, technology, fashion, healthy living, livestock, citizenship, and many other crucial areas that are needed to make us into well-rounded individuals.

      August 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  38. Scrappy

    I do realize that the 4-H folks who have posted here are caring people who obviously mean well and try, in the best of these circumstances, to treat their animals with kindness and compassion. I have tried to learn from the folks who've posted here and listen and understand. I've realized that there is great goodness there and none of the people who've posted is insensitive to sending an animal off to slaughter. However, re slaughter - someone incorrectly mentioned that it's done in the most humane way - unless you walk the cow through the process, there is absolutely no way to guarantee an animal is humanely slaughtered. I can guarantee that the animals are terrified as they're trundled off to the slaughter-house. It's been documented that some animals - in some slaughterhouses, not all - have survived the stunning stage and are still alive when they're hung upside to have their throats slashed. Luckily, I can guarantee that they're dead when they're beheaded and skinned. I also don't buy the "circle of life" argument because we don't then eat the raw flesh of the slaughtered cow. No, it's so repulsive to us ... or so tough for our little spade-like incisors to rend, that we have to cook it before eating. Yes, as a 4-Her mentioned, we should question anything we're told - but that, no pun intended, cuts both way. I think the term "circle of life" romanticizes what really happens once the cow leaves the farm, and implies that we obese Americans need yet another steak on our already full plates.

    July 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  39. Katelin

    To everyone who doesn't understand agriculture,

    I am a proud member of the FFA, and organization similar in many ways to 4-H. This program has given me buisness, speaking and every day people skills as well as teaching me how the world really gets its food.

    I personally raise sheep and cattle, some for breeding and others for slaughter. I also know hundreds of other young men and women who do. And if there is one thing I can tell you, it is that we do love our animals. I name all of mine and care for them like I would a dog. I have seen almost all my friends cry on auction day because of the attatchment to our animals.
    FFA and 4-H does not teach you "killing is OK", it teaches you that it IS the circle of life. Everyone has to eat, and I know that those involved in responsible agricultural practices, the practices taught in such youth organizations, cares for their animals to the best of their ability and when their day rolls around, the are slaughterd in the most humane way possible. That, I promise.
    It upsets me, that people has such little faith in what they don't understand. I want everyone to understand agriculture, FFA and life. Don't be afraid to ask questions, but don't trust everything you hear.
    When you think about how "terrible" organizations like these are, I want you to consider that these are the people feeding you. And feeding you is their passion! Don't make them afraid of you. And also, think about all the kids who truely think their food only comes from the super market. I had a young boy who asked me "why we have to grow chickens if they grow chicken meat at the store?" I've gotten similar questions about hamburger, bacon and even milk.
    The FFA and 4-H are trying to inform youth, not hurt them.


    July 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  40. Tierra Permann

    People who write articles like this are the individuals who are ignorant to the situation! It is evident that they have never taken part in a 4-H project and do not understand the strict guidelines applied to slaughter houses. The idea that all animals are abused before slaughtering is a misconception based on, once again, ignorance. Please be sure to educate yourself about something before you make yourself look foolish. I have been an active 4-H/FFA member for over 10 years and I see the amazing lessons of hard work and responsibility we gain from experiences within these amazing programs. An animal's purpose on earth is to be used for our food, It's the great circle of life.

    July 20, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Scrappy

      Tierra, the article actually says good things about 4-H too. It's a shame people keep harping on how terrible this article is without really reading it. But I do understand that its headline is confusing and not a good choice of words. And you'll note that there are comments within the article by people who are in 4-H, so that doesn't exactly make them ignorant of the situation. As for the circle of life argument, well, that's a really tired one. While I agree that 4-H kids don't abuse their animals, in general, what we as a society do to animals in this country is a crying shame. We treat them as commodities without feelings, we breed them as mere meat/milk machines, we cause genetic aberrations all in the interest of meat/milk production, and then, we send these intelligent creatures, just as capable of suffering as we are, off to slaughter. That's a circle of shame, not life. And ironically, we as a country are so overweight and/or obese, it'd behoove us to switch to veggies.

      July 20, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  41. Scrappy

    Wow, um, thank you for your rather insulting and shrill response, PROUD 4-H FAMILY. I appreciate your viewpoint, by don't understand the insulting tone. It's admirable what you do - raising your animals, but don't insult those of us who choose not to live exactly the way you do. Also, there are other options to buying meat at a grocery store (which I agree, is a bad option). One could not eat meat at all and thus, help one's health and the environment. So you too, as you say, try living outside the box too!

    July 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    UGH......some people are just down right STUPID!! who or why would anyone pick a burger from mcdonald's then a burger made from an all beef steer, your home raised steer will give you a burger thats nothing BUT ALL BEEF. Do any of you that are against rasing your own steer to eat know what your REALLY eating when you go to fast food places or buy packed meats at a grocery store? I doubt it! Theres nothing better then an all pasture raised animal to eat, the most organic your gonna get! Do you know how they raise the chicken that you all buy at the stores? I doubt that too! Have you even seen an injected chicken? Thats what you eat when you buy them from a store. If you buy them from a kid that raised them for show, your gonna get something thats all natural, MUCH BETTER!!! So all you that are against kids in 4-H must not know how to do anything for yourself that you count on the stores to provide you with everything for life. I know my kids will ALWAYS be able to take care of themselves and not rely on stores or fast foods. We raise chickens, turkey's, steers, goats, ducks, sheep and hogs all JUST TO EAT!!!!! So when the stores close and the fast food places shut down I'll be sure to remember whos against 4-H so when they come knockin on my door asking if they can eat with us, I'll ask them how bad is 4-H now?! Lets see who knows what circle of life means then. Get a life people, learn how to live outside of a box!

    July 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  43. T

    When I was ten or eleven I cried like a baby when they took my steer's lead rope out of my hand, led him
    into the trailer and gave me back an empty halter. Eight years later when it was my job to help load the
    trailer I almost cried when I looked at the younger kid's pain. You don't spend all spring every day with an
    animal and not get attached. But life, love, and loss of life is all part of our world. 4-H was an important
    part of my early life and taught me skills I still use every day and I've been gone from the farm for decades.

    July 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  44. Tera

    I too was a 10 year 4-her, and after my involvement, have went back to my county and continued to help and stay invluved. With that being said, "desensitized" is assnine. I love how people think that just because we raise animals and sell thehem at market, that we are bad people. Bottom line is, 4-H teaches kids about how to accept what animals purpose is. We are still sensitive to the fact that they are being sold for slaughter, however there is a general understanding that this is part of life, and without them, we would starve. And while we are on the topic, lets focus on the positives of 4_h . the fact that it teaches kids resposibility, sportsmanship, dedication,how to care for something else other than yourself. In addition the life long friends that are made. What about interview skills, character and everything else? 4-H and agriculture incldued are good programs, and I hate that everyone who isn't familiar with it bashes on it. Take a walk in a 4-Hers boots before you judge, and you"ll see how much of an impact that the program has, and how much care goes into the animals.

    July 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  45. Seren Deputy

    Ok, I'm 15 years old. I have been in 4-H for 10 Years and am still continuing. I started out showing market goats at my county fair. Every year i would get extremely attached to my animal, and every year they had to go to the same place in the end of the week. The packer truck. And every year i cry my eyes out because it was my animal. Grant it that some were harder than others. For instance i started showing market steers 2 years ago. My first year i had a kie-main/angus cross. most of you probably don't know what that is. In other words its a calf that's breed is bigger built than most with a very bad additude mixed with an angus or regular meat calf. I never really made friends with this steer. but I was the only one who could handle him, the only one he trusted. I say that we didn't always get along though. When i was at the fair with him he through me over a 5.5 foot fence... At first i was a little rattled but then i laughed so hard i was crying. Then after the auction at the end of the week i wasn't satisfied with his sale price. I actually lost $400 on him between purchase price and the feed bill. After all that I still couldn't stand to be in the barn when he was walked down the aisle to load the truck. And when i came back he wasn't there and yes i cried. This being the steer that had injured me several times and thrown me over a fence, and I CRIED WHEN HE LEFT. Most people would have said thank the Lord he's gone. My point is that the killing and dying part isn't what 4-H is about. It's about the Building of a relationship between you and your animal and taking that to competition. And how many of you have actually been inside a slaughter house? I have. My group took a tour of it. it wasn't the prettiest thing i'll give it that. But for those of you who haven't and are speaking out on what you don't know. The animals die quickly and painlessly, by shotgun or rifle. Also I just want to say WHO ARE YOU TO HAVE ANY RIGHT TO TALK ABOUT ANIMAL CRUELTY BEING ONLY ON 4-Her's??? When my steers are getting into shape waiting on fairs. they get fans, ;misters , and more baths than i do. Some even have their own air conditioned boxes. Its almost crazy the care we get. Also no matter what anyone may say trying to guilt trip you into believing that animals trust you they don't. they all have minds of their own. They just learn to tolerate you being around that doesn't mean that they don't have favorites because they do because thats the person they are used to being around. Last year i got the Grand Champion Market Steer. and yes he also went to the packing house, and yes i cried. Just goes to show you that no matter how many times you do it you never get "desensitized" to your animal leaving. Like i said i've done it for 10 years and still going and it still gets to me every time.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  46. JW

    Does 4-H desesnitize kids to killing? One has to ask the question, what is being desensitized? I believe the way this article presents it, the answer is a resounding "no." Being desensitized is described as emotionally unresponsive. In all my years of 4-H, I have never seen a child that was not affected by their animals, wether it be with pride because their grand champion steer commanded the highest selling price the auction has ever seen, or getting teary because the knew it was time for their animal to go. In both cases however, it was still the child's choice to sell that animal. Kids fully understand what they are getting into before they raise a meat animal. 4-H is up front about meat animals and their intended use. And yet, despite having to load that animal up on the truck for the packers, the children come back again next year. And the year after that. One has to wonder, if showing 4-H livestock is so terrible, why do children willingly come back and do the same projects year after year?

    This article and many people are extremely misinformed. 4-H children are not forced to sell their animals at the auction. They can choose to keep the animal indefinately or pursue other livestock projects that do not consume the animals for meat. They can chose to raise egg laying chickens instead of broilers. Dairy cattle instead of beef. Wool sheep instead of market lambs. Milk goats instead of meat. Rabbit wool instead of meat rabbit. Let's not forget there are several animals that you may show that will never be slaughtered, such as horses or llamas. You many also participate in dog obedience, cat showing, or pocket pets, which include a myriad of little critters like hamsters and guinea pigs.

    I am eternally grateful for the lessons I learned from 4-H. It was a blast, and my 10 year membership secured a job for me from a complete stranger. They didn't even talk about my credentials during the job interview, just 4-H, lol. Nothing but good things come from this program and the FFA, and I wish more children knew about it. There is nothing more healthy for a child then to have something productive and educational to do that they enjoy, and I wish more places, especially the inner cities had more postive programs like this for their youth. I bet you would see a drastic decrease in drug use and crimes.

    July 13, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  47. Orange Goat

    4-H taught me the value of life and the simple fact that we all have a purpose. I loved my animals and realized that they were a part of our food chain. I respected the fact that they became a part of our sustenance. You may feel differently, but don't shove your values onto 4-Hers. Raising animals successfully requires a caring and compassionate soul. And for that matter farming in general takes a moral mindset that most of this country has forgotten. Try raising your own food and then get back to me. I also have never seen a news story start off with "suspected murderer and known 4-Her". Just saying...

    July 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • thepoint

      Orange Goat: How is expressing an opinion "shoving your values onto 4-Hers"? Are people who disagree with you not allowed to express their opinions? In addition, try reading the story - it presents viewpoints both pro and con.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  48. Carrie

    Wow! This is very different from the week we just experienced on the farm. Four-year-old Addison had to learn this lesson a little earlier than we had anticipated due to a freak accident. Believe me, we ALL cried (from my mother-in-law in her 50's to little Addison). Raising food for the world is a noble profession, and this article remind me of how many people don't understand the basic concept. Without farmers caring for them, these animals would not exist. Read about the "Hello Kitty" lesson here:

    July 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • thepoint

      Carrie, so sorry about Hello Kitty and your daughter's loss.
      Also, I'm not quite sure I understand your logic about "without farmers caring for them, these animals would not exist." Don't the farmers breed the animals? By having the animals reproduce, farmers then, yes, have to care for them. If the farmers didn't breed them, the animals wouldn't exist to be cared for. Sorry, maybe I'm misunderstanding.

      July 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  49. Tiffany

    As a 4-H alum I was shocked and offended by this article. I can assure you that showing livestock in 4-H and FFA was the most beneficial activity I ever participated in. I wrote a blog responding to this article here:

    July 8, 2011 at 11:36 am |
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