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)

    If animal rights idiots want to dictate my diet (therefore, subsequently, my health), they had better run very very fast. I am going to eat them. I need the protein. I pray all these unamerican scumbags die.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  2. Dave

    This is really getting to be a sad world. Most people I know who raise animals for meat and profit care deeply for their animals well being. As far as killing and slaughtering an animal yourself, this is something I do and have taught my children to do as well. In my opinion everyone should do this. This country is getting far too many bleeding hearts, life is life, that's the way it is. Get over it!!!!!

    June 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

    Who wants to join me in a bacon wrapped sirloin for lunch?

    June 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Dave

      I will

      June 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Amy

      I already ate my beef laden lunch, but it sounds good for dinner!

      June 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  4. Amy

    I can't believe I'm reading this – really??? I love animals, but I'm not ignorant enough to think that the entire planet is going to survive without someone killing and eating an animal. It makes me wonder – those of you who are saying that we should not kill any animals – do you have pets? If so, exactly what do your pets eat? I'm assuming that your dogs and cats don't eat fish or chicken either right? They are vegan pets? There is a point where things go over the top and this article is definitely there! I think it is great for kids to be familiar with their food source.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  5. yankee

    Farm kids kill to EAT City kids KILL to KILL you pick who,s right

    June 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  6. EatThemUpYum

    The wussification of America continues...

    June 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  7. GaJanie

    As my grandmother would say....Hogwash! You PETA people are off your blooming rockers.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  8. Croesus

    In support of the mythology that a news organization should report news, ferret out facts that are in the public interest, and avoid pushing ethical or social agendas unless the related article(s) are clearly labeled as "opinion," I suggest that the title of this article is inappropriate. Something more in keeping with the principle of journalistic objectivity would have been, for example, "Controversy over the Role of 4-H." The title used, "Does 4-H Desensitize Kids to Killing?" appears to be supporting a not-so-covert agenda. At the very least it is a deliberately inflammatory headline that is designed to provoke strong reactions; perhaps to advance a social agenda, perhaps for purely commercial reasons.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  9. James Baker

    4H is so much more than killing animals. My daughter trains dogs and has learned so much about leadership and public speaking. I would hope you would actully look into what 4H does before you spout off. 4H is a valuable credential for getting into college and just living skills. My daughter won the Key award this year. Check out what that is.
    Thank you

    June 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Annoyed.

      well put JB :)

      June 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  10. Wootings

    Just goes to show the depth of some people's stupidity.

    4-H teaches agriculture and animal husbandry. Do you know WHY we need agriculture and animal husbandry? Oh yeah...SO WE CAN EAT AND NOT DIE.

    4-H does nothing different than what any kid learns growing up on a farm. Nothing.

    And the "anti-4-H" group, which until today I wasn't even aware existed, has demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are nothing but a bunch of radical vegan activists that just can't wrap their heads around the fact that the human animal evolved to be an omnivore.

    So sorry being at the top of the food chain makes you all woozy...maybe you could move back into a nice cave somewhere and live off nuts and berries then – like the lower primates with which you share an IQ.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Realist

      Ouch, that one will sting. Problem is most of the"liberated thinkers" never grew up on a farm there for struggle to understand the basics of life, dont want to eat Pig? Fine, eat wheat, where does what come from 4H graduates.

      To the vocal vegans – I dont attack you for being Vegan (one way to live) kindly zip it next time you feel the need to tell ther rest of us how to live.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  11. Paul

    OK. This is beyond ridiculous. Go to most any inner city (Washington, Baltimore, Detroit, and there is "indiscriminate" killing going on. Go to a farming community where "slaughter" is a way of life and compare the incident per-capita senslous murder rate. If the supposition of this were true, then farmers would all be mass murders and inner city dwellers would be saints.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  12. Tim

    What is the benefit of teaching our kids to be weak-kneed? If we were ever to face a serious threat to our country or be involved in another massive war, we would be doomed because so many of our kids are being raised as complete wusses.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  13. Seth

    As a one-time 4-H member who also happened to be raised on an organic beef farm, I have to say there is a great deal of misinformation being thrown around here. 4-H clubs vary from town to town, and even more so region to region. They tend to focus on the needs of the area, agriculturally speaking (assuming their focus is agriculture at all). In northern NY it was mostly small to mid-sized dairy farms interspersed with a very few beef farms so the raising of cattle was the focus. The cattle raised were dairy cattle, to be auctioned off to dairy farms for milk production. I was the exception, raising award winning Angus bulls to be auctioned. These were not for slaughter, they were used as studs. Their progeny may have gone to slaughter, but there were no factory slaughter houses, just the local butchers. I can't say that for all of those shipped, but their high quality meat would have more than likely directed them to the typically more humane smaller butcher shops. I'm not saying it's right, I'm just describing the local process.

    As 4-H reflects the region agricultural practices in their teaching, there very well may be clubs that teach how to raise animals for slaughter in the killing floors of the factory slaughter houses, but I'd say that would reflect the local culture more than any policy by 4-H.

    A decent analogy might be blaming the teaching of the Cub Scouts for the invasion of Iraq.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  14. LouAz

    This is the kind of feel good cr@p that makes know nothings of our children. Most American teenagers would die in a week if they had to feed themselves. We have progressed from hunter/gathers, but to pretend that food just comes from the grocery store where Mommie gets it is a Lindsey Lohan reality. There is an "emotional price" to be a well fed human being. Don't pretewnd that that price does not exist.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  15. Mark

    Sorry but meat comes from tasty animals. If the experience at 4 H desensitizes them .... I say "good job." Because at the end of the day the program is supposed to support the agricultual industry. This means that you can't go to your family farm and make your cow your best friend.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  16. JZ

    The ethics involved in feeding the masses of people who have lived against the will of nature are complicated. How do you feed billions of people? How do you do this when many of them eat way more than they are supposed to? And how do you do all of that while maintaining a generous profit?

    The answer is not vegetarianism, it is education. It is sympathy. It is making wise choices based on the reality which is that in preserving all human life, we have an adverse impact on life that might be on our plate. Nature does not work this way.

    We are humans. The only reason we exist the way we do is in the diversification of our diet. Having been hunter/gatherers and scavengers, we moved up when we found a means to kill prey. We expanded greatly when we no longer had to invest large amounts of time and space to food procurement (agriculture). Incidentally, the very things that helped us thrive will work against us as the land is eroded and our population continues to grow. Mark my words, huge famine and war for resources will make all vegetarians eat meat and no one will care about the poor widdle cow we waised and who twusted us wif their wife.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  17. GT

    I can see that there are many different opinios on this and can respect that. But here is the real universal truth. what does nature call a vegeterian? "FOOD". The top of the food chain if filled with carnivores and omnivores (including Humans)that have no problems with making a violent kill for their food. The difference is that we have made food gathering an efficient system that does not require all members to participate in. Programs like 4H are able to provide young children the opportunity to learn where our food comes from. That is a valuable lesson that most people don't get.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  18. sameeker

    PC gone wild.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  19. CattleJudge

    As a 10 year 4-H member having shown cattle and hogs, then a 4 year 4-H leader, cattle judge, and then became a County Extension Agent in charge of the livestock program, I would just like to say this is the most ridiculous article I have ever seen in my life.

    Anyone who has never been in a modern slaughter plant does not know anything about the humane way animals are put down. Slitting the throat and seeing it struggle? What planet are you from?

    I could explain the process, but you are not intelligent enough to understand, and would spin it around the way most liberals do..... no I am not falling to your level, sorry.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • I eat meat

      You forgot to mention how clean the slaughter houses are.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  20. uisignorant

    So knowing where your food comes from is desensitizing killing???? I can not recall any mass murders or school shooters being farm boys.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  21. IceT

    I don't believe Casey Anthony was in 4-H !

    June 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  22. Nicole

    Are you kidding me? Kids have been helping on farms forever, before the modern meat industry came about anyway. I'm sure all these people crying about the poor animals raised for slaughter are the same ones who have no problem eating it once it's on their plate...or who are fine with their children playing hours of violent video games or watching violent TV. I can't stand the hypocrisy!

    June 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  23. steve

    I saw this article and my first thought was YOU HAVE TO BE SHI**ING ME!!!!!! cnn news.this has to be the most stupid ARTICLE ever written. you need to move on to better news..STUPID STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

    June 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  24. Kevin Hoyer

    4-H id much much more than kids winning ribbons with animals. 4-H develops our youth into responsible young adults who turn into productive citizens. 4-H goes way beyond agriculture. It has taught kids to be confident and assertive through such activities as speaking competitions, drama and play productions, developing a child's creativity through arts and crafts. Teaching the fundamentals of cooking and and nutrition. Helping kids to realize the importance of being able to work with others, encouraging interactions with others to teach them to get along with others. Yes 4-H has the stereo type of being all about animals, but the skills taught respect the animal they are caring for, a respect that goes beyond just feeding and caring for their project animal. A respect that teaches them to humanely raise and care for not only their project animals but all animals in general. How do I know this? Because I was in 4-H as a kid and experienced first hand the benefits 4-H has to offer. If you ask me, each and every kid should have the opportunity to experience 4-H, it would do this country some good.
    If you wish to discuss the desensification of our kids, then lets look at our media. What do we see on television, or look at the video games that some allow their kids to play. To me, the video games have done more to send a message that killing and violence is not only OK but acceptable, is the root of our problems, not 4-H.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • James Baker

      Thank you for saying this. It is what I wanted to say. 4H is great for kids.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • GLS

      Kevin, I like you, have also been involved in 4-H. As a matter of fact, at age 53, I am and will continue to be involved. I agree with you comments that 4-H programs are geared toward the development of youth in becoming responsible young adults. 4-H is so much more than teaching youth proper animal husbandry and agriculture. The comments that have been posted that the 4-H programs are geared to desensitize youth to the slaughter animals are very far off course. At my age, in continuing to help my daughter and other youth with their livestock, I also get an attachment to the animals. When they are being cared for daily, as well as other animals that are in the pastures (those which don't make the cut for show), ther is an attachment that occurrs just for feeding them and interacting with the animals. I also agree that each and every youth in the United States of america should participate in the 4-H program. It would impact this great nation and make a profound difference in our nation today.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  25. Not a 4H'er

    I wasn't in 4H growing up, but I lived in a pretty rural area where many kids were and the thought of the group desensitizing kids to killing is ridiculous. I've always respected 4H and FFA for the way they teach young people responsibility, respect for animals, and the hard work it takes to provide for yourself in life. 4H and FFA have done nothing but good for kids. Frankly, I feel much better getting food from a person who I know has cared for an animal throughout it's entire life than an anonymous factory farm where animals are mere statistics.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  26. Teamroper

    PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals

    June 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  27. Andrea M

    Humans are smart animals. Thousands of years ago we saw terrifying and really mean proto-cattle called aurochs and decided that they would be easier to kill if we bred them down to the dumb animals they are today. Humans selectively bred this animal to make it easier for us to kill 8,000 years ago. That is amazingly smart! Therefore, humans have the right to do whatever they want with this animal cause we friggen created it. Respectfully killing it quickly is just a pleasantry. 4-H teaches kids to respect and value their animals and work to raise the best animal possible. Here in Denver, the top animals from the program who fetch the most at auction at the National Western Stock Show are traditionally displayed at one of our finest hotels, the Brown Palace. I think that's silly and gross myself, but these animals are respected.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  28. BobH

    Well let's see – There is reality and those who live in la-la land. Does killing animals make it right? Well – there has been a recent break through in Japan that could be a great solution:

    Let me know what you think – it is a technological alternative to PETA's montra! Ummmm – yummy – yummy! Maybe clonning meat would be a better alternative. What do you think?

    June 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  29. John

    Yet another "non story". Sheesh.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  30. John

    I was in 4-H in the city (Madison, WI) and did not have any part of the animals. I did however spend time on my uncles farm in rural WI. It was a dairy farm and I saw the animals and how they were treated. I now live in the country and regularly spend time on a family farm helping, but not on a daily basis. Farms are what they are and most are not as they are shown in hidden camera specials.

    If you all want to end the farms and the slaughter then just remember this. You are standing up for the extinction of hundreds of species. If we don't need hostiens, brown swiss, jersey, and any other breed of cow where will they survive? They have no natural habitat. Same goes for sheep, chickens, goats and many more.

    So once you convince all the farmers to convert to crops for food or ethinal remember this. The species you saved from slaughter will be extinct because they have no habitat or place to live. There isn't too many people lookign to have a pet jersey bull. Trust me on that one.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • markus

      Go Badgers!

      June 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  31. tim

    Do you XXXXXXXXXX have any idea how much land would be required to grow enough food with enought needed protein and other vitamins/minerals to replace animal protein? Looks like the oceans are empty – and I don't care for glowing fish anyway......heres a shocker – mexican produce is ferilized with human waste, potatos grow in dirt, and that cellaphane wrapped juicy pink steak used to be moving under its own power.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Aloisae

      Actually, tim, getting protein from animals is incredibly resource intensive in the United States and it would take LESS land to feed everyone if we didn't rely so heavily on livestock especially with our reliance on grain feeding/finishing in the US. According to the US EPA: 72.7 million acres in the US are devoted to corn production and over 80% of that is used to feed livestock; 72.7 million acres in the US are devoted to soybean production with 30 million tons of that going to feed livestock; 59.9 million acres in the US are devoted to growing hay for livestock; 53 million acres in the US are devoted to growing wheat, 22% of which is fed to livestock. These are the four crops in the US with the largest number of acres devoted to them. An analysis done at Cornell back in 1997 indicated that just the grain/soybeans used to feed livestock consumed in the US could meet the total protein requirements for over 800 million people.. and according to the US Census bureau, there were only 266 million people in the US at the time.

      Please note, I'm not saying that meat isn't a good source of protein or can't be part of an environmentally responsible lifestyle. However, if you are concerned about having enough land to feed people, the first thing to go should be grain fed/finished livestock/poultry/fish and a major change would need to be in how the US at least produces meat.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  32. markus

    Yep, that is what we need – an entire population who cannot and will not kill an animal. Let's be a nation of vegetarians (save the comments PETA supporters) and let all animals be free range. Thank you 4-H for producing some great people through your programs (and allowing me to have a burger now and then).

    June 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Melissa

      LOL a nation of vegetarians that won't even be able to grow their own vegetables because they weren't in 4-H to know you need the manure of the animals for organic fertilizer. So all their plants die, or are so chemically overloaded they are more harmful to the planet than any cow ever was.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  33. ryan

    Dear CNN,

    No it doesn't. If you want to know what does desensitize children why don't you do a piece on how living in the middle east desensitives children to killing. Focus on the teachings that go on over there that prepare children to fight and die at a young age. Not to mention probably the worst treatment of animals occurs in these countries. Other countries could benefit from a 4-H club.

    Can't believe this is even an issue. Please CNN be more realistic. The wussification of the United States continues. Get real people.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  34. Alicia

    I grew up in 4-H and FFA. In 4-H, I showed pigs and the memories I have of the first two are awesome. 4-H and FFA give you memories of you being something than just another kid in a classroom about boring stuff. The 4-H and FFA groups I were in, they had as much stuff to do as who all were interested in them. I did baking as well in 4-H, I went to the state competition after winning county grand champion where I competed against the older women who spend their lives doing that to find the best recipe. I enjoyed the time. Later in FFA, I competed in Parlimentary Procedure with everyone else, as well as livestock judging and showed more pigs. Both Parlimentary Procedure and livestock judging are competitions that teach you how to public speak. My school didn't have a whole course for it, so it was in both FFA and FCCLA. My dad is a farmer, so I already knew the horrors of losing my pet cow to old age, so she had to be sold, after I raised her because she lost her mother at a very early age.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  35. Ted Nugent

    If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat!

    June 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • markus

      Thank God for Ted Nugent.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • oogie

      Best cook book written was "kill'em and grill'em" by Ted Nugent

      June 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  36. Meatczar

    I have seen plenty of tears roll down the faces of 4-H kids when they wave goodbye to their "projects", It is natural for them to become attached, BUT,, the experience and knowledge that they gain about animal handling practices , life cycle purpose of these animals,the economic factors involved and just general life lessons actually makes them MORE sensitve to the end game and prompts them to come up with new,better and different ways to bring the whole process full circle.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  37. Go Away Vegans

    The vegans are right, no animals should be killed for food. Let's form a grassroots group to take on training lions, tigers, and bears to NOT eat smaller animals. Then we'll train the smaller animals not to eat bugs. Bugs will later be trained to not eat plants because plants are living organims and they have rights too! Once we can get all the land animals to stop eating each other and all the plants, we'll then move on to teach the fish to leave each other alone.

    Some days I swear I want to go back to the days were people lived off the land (and it's animals) and there weren't groups of bleeding hearts trying to throw a wrench in all the gears.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Omnivore

      They have their own completely unnatural, fantasy utopia they want to turn the world into.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  38. iwatchu

    meanwhile....every second of everyday on TV.....violence and killing rule the day....not to

    WTF people.......get it together or 'its' gonna get you.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  39. William

    4-H turning children into heartless killers? I guess the video games that have them steal cars and beat hookers dont. I guess the lame movies out that show brutal violence dont. Perhaps its the example of union goons taking over a whole state capitol and staking out businesses that gave to the governor might give a certain impression. Why do middle class girls have to act like ghetto queens? If i see one more teen girl up in someones face acting like that i will scream. Calling each other b-itches and such, punching and kicking. I guess thats just the thug life, right? Got to get their props and respect. 4-H in school desensitizing? What about union schools that push abortion as a normal and healthy form of birth control? Its ok to kill a baby but not a cow for food. Our society is rotting from the inside out yet 4-H is what the press focuses on?

    June 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Rob

      Union Schools pushing abortion????? Don't know where you are from but I've never heard of any school 'pushing abortion'....I think you need to quit listening to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean are as over the top as these nutcase vegan warriors.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
      • Rob

        and throw Glen Beck in there too...... :-)

        Have a nice day

        June 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  40. Burbank

    And what about Facebook's Zuckerberg bragging that he kills his own animals for food? There's a real God complex going on there!

    At least these people are in the industry as a family business. It's a sad fact of life as long as people want to eat meat. I think the raising and killing could be handled much more humanely in an agribusiness setting, but that's the way things are for now.

    Generally operations on small family farms are much more humane and perhaps we need to return to this sort of lifestyle. But that certainly won't be possible until people stop overpopulating and the population levels come down again. Even in this supposedly enlightened country people just keep mindlessly having these big 3-6 child families like there are no consequences to the environment and quality of life.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  41. Throne, K

    This article really disappoints me!!!!! I am a college student and I have lived on a beef cattle farm my entire life. I am a fourth generation to be involved in 4H and FFA. Both of these organizations have helped me to earn money and to save it up for college from showing livestock. I am starting my third year in the fall and have not had to take out a loan yet. Before writing this article, they should've thought about how these organizations have made a positive impact on children's lives. Both of my siblings show livestock and enjoy it alot. I loved it and miss it alot!!!!!!! These do not desensitize anybody and just helps members learn responsibilities at a young age and leadership skills. I am a lifetime supporter of both organizations and stand behind them 100%!

    June 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  42. john the farmer who loves to kill because of 4H!

    Oh my gosh! You have to be kidding me! This is really funny that people would think that 4H turns children into killers! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I think the people who think this, really do not have a clue of what actually 4H does for children. 1st of all, it doesn't make kids killers! It is the exact opposite! You 4H haters really need to get a life and get out under that rock you live under. You would not believe the outstanding young individuals that are members of 4H. It is all good! Nothing but good, so you naysayers, get a life and go to a 4H meeting and find out for yourself instead of throwing accusations that are meaningless.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  43. Nick

    I eat meat. I enjoy eating meat. I will not apologize for eating meat. I have taught my children to eat meat. They also enjoy eating meat.....I don't give a rat's a$$ how the animal was treated, or how humanely it was slaughtered. I just don't give a damn.....Animals were put here for humans to eat.....period!!!!!

    June 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • DocBlogger

      Hope you find friends like you. Not as much about meat eating, but those bereft of lack of empathy, that will touch you one day.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm |

    You call it Kosher/Halaal.

    I call it cold blooded murder

    June 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • jturgeon

      So a cat killing a mouse is cold blooded murder too, yes?

      Idiot. 4-H teaches that when animals have to be killed for food, it needs to be done the right way, and the anmial has to be raised with respect. More respect than any wild animal ever gave to its prey. You are a f*cking idiot.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Dennis

      For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat two!

      June 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  45. Brook

    I was an 11 year 4-Her and raised lambs and pigs for market and I'm appalled by all the comments about how 4-H allegedly desensitizes kids to killing because it doesn't! I remember crying after loading my animals into the stock trucks every year (yep, even into my high school years), but my mom would tell me that I gave my animals a better life than any other sheep/pig in a large ranching operation. The majority of 4-H animals were sent to a relatively small slaughterhouse about 90 miles away, while a handful of others were processed at local establishments. Each year before fair time, my mom sent my sister and me out to "pre-sell" our animals. We would contact local businesses, tell them about the process, and give them absentee bid forms if they were unable to attend the sale. After the fair, all 4-Hers were given a “Thank You” photo of themselves with their animal to take to the purchasing business where they were proudly displayed as a symbol of local support. Those animals taught me so much about responsibility and it's something I'll never forget.
    In addition to the market animals, I did multiple horsemanship projects, showing rabbits, photography, cooking, sewing, and leatherwork. Also, during those 11 years, I was elected as club president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer, I served as a camp counselor, helped younger kids with their projects, and served as Co-Sheep Superintendant with my dad for a couple of years. I am happy to say that I can thank 4-H for many of the things that have made me a successful adult!

    June 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Aloisae

      I agree. As a child and teenager I was in 4-H, including raising livestock. Far from desensitizing me to killing animals, 4-H is probably the biggest reason why I didn't grow up with the typical American disassociation between the meat on their plate or in the stores and the animals from which it came. I've been vegetarian for decades now, almost all of my adult life, and probably wouldn't have made that choice had I not had the experience raising animals typically considered food animals in our culture... and I might not have made that choice had the difference between how animals are treated on a small farm versus typical large scale operations.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  46. DocBlogger

    At one point, Christians believed that earth was at the center of the universe. Why? Because humans are special. The same underlying principle makes them believe that it is okay to eat animals – as if it was God's gift and mandate. I wonder if those who believe in creationism also are steadfast guilt free meat eaters. Though that does not mean those who believe in evolution do not, but chances of finding vegetarians in this group may be high.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • jturgeon

      So cats shouldn't be allowed to eat mice according to you, yes?

      Idiot. 4-H teaches that when animals have to be killed for food, it needs to be done the right way (meaning causing the least amount of pain), and the animal has to be raised with respect. More respect than any wild animal ever gave to its prey. You are a f*cking idiot.

      These kids learn that animals that are eaten are living things, and have far more respect for the animal/meat that ends up on their tables than most other kids in this country.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
      • DocBlogger

        Humans have evolved to use hands, think at higher plane, and are in position to use technology to allow generation of alternate food (also called as farming).

        June 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
      • jturgeon

        Human metabolism is also designed to process both meat and non-meat. The decision to not eat meat is completely counter-biological.

        June 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  47. Eric

    If we're not supposed to eat animals... why are they made out of meat?

    June 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  48. AnimalNurture

    I grew up with 4-H. I learned to sew clothes, build wooden furniture, take artistic photos, cook, wire and electrical circuit, cultivate gardens and raise and care for animals. My family didn't have the land for large animals so we raised chickens, ducks and rabbits. My sisters and I learned how to provide proper pens, nesting boxes, nutrition and health checks on our animals. We gathered the eggs and set the fertilized ones into incubators, and sold or ate the others. We also learned about death. We had raccoons, opposums, and dogs break into our pens and kill some of animals. I remember carrying a wounded duck that a dog had caught and watching it die slowly as we tried to save it. We always felt the loss of the animal. We also butchered some of our animals. We learned to do this in a quick, clean manner that caused minimal pain. We dressed the animal and prepared it for cooking. It helped me to understand the importance of caring for the animal and the effort it takes to put meat on the table. I think 4-H helps children to understand all elements of life, from birth to adulthood, from procreation to rearing young, and from healthy living and dying. I think it's important to teach children where their food comes from and how it is prepared. Then they can make an informed decision about the source of their protein.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  49. Emmersome

    God help this country, Liberals have turned us into a nation of pu**ies.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  50. Mariah B.

    How about an article about something more important like how youth are being desensitized to the killing of humans through violence in movies and TV. 4-H is a responsible program that I have seen do much good in my own community. I think we need to be more concerned with the devaluing of a human life that happens as children see thousands of murders in media and entertainment before they are even out of elementary school. To me, this is a much bigger issue that deserves more attention than the smearing of a good organization.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • AnimalNurture

      Well said, Mariah B! I agree that we should be more focused on sources of malevolence rather that sources that teach our children responsibility.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
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