Summer time, for most, means sleeping in late and spending every moment lounging by the pool. But for many 4-Hers, summer time means getting your animals ready for the county fair.
In my mind, there is nothing in the world that compares to a county fair. Its 4 days of hot, sweaty, exhausting, nerve-racking fun :). Most city folk think that fair time is only about the carnival and the concerts, but little do they know that the fairs were first started way back in the day because of agriculture. So you can probably understand my frustration when I talk to someone about a county fair or the state fair and they don't even realize that there are animals at the fair.
|My last year as a 4-H member. (way back in 2008)|
|My cousins Colton and Cameron get they calves ready for this |
years beef show. The cattle stand in chutes while they are
brushed and readed for the show.
Nowhere in my 13 years as a 4-H member have I ever considered myself insensitive towards the well-being of any animals. I worked hard on each of my 4-H hogs and cattle. Feeding them twice a day, giving them a bath every morning, training them to lead, putting them in a cool barn with fans and misters in the summer when it was extremely hot outside, and training them for show. And after all that work, there is no greater feeling than all your hard work paying off by a success in the show ring.
Another great feeling, is when your animal is auctioned off at the end of the fair to a 4-H supporter in your community. The higher the bid, the better, because all that money went back into my account to help pay for next years 4-H projects.
My first few years as I walked my big steer into the show ring, usually weighing him in at about 1200 lbs, I cried. O boy did I cry. In my young mind, my steers were pets. I had spent several hours everyday for the past few months with him, so you can imagine my heartbreak when I had to see him go.
4-H taught me and many others the difference between pets and animals for food. It makes perfect sense to us 4-Hers that when we start working with our animals, that they have an ultimate purpose and we work extremely hard to make the best market animal that we can. Yes we still become attached to the animals because each has its on personality. My cattle and hogs had their favorite scratch spots, their favorite feed, and favorite spot in the pen. But I knew all along they were not pets.
What many people do no understand is that agriculture animals are not pets. Nor does 4-H try to give kids that impression. Death is a part of life, and we must realize that fact.
|We use show sticks to scratch the cattle tummies to |
make sure they are calm and comfortable at all times.
When I read the article the part that really got my blood boiling was when 4-H members were called "insensitive". This is complete garbage. Everytime one of my animlas looked ill or uncomforatble, I did everything in my power to correct it. I have worked extra hours in the morning and at night to makre sure my animals were not subjected to the extreme heat of the day. I have been stepped on, drug on the ground, charged at, and kicked by my own animals, but loved them all along the way.
If that is "insensitive and cruel to animals", then I think I need to check the definitions of those words.
...that's what she said