Cattlemen’s Corner: Support 4-H youth livestock projects | TSLN.com

Cattlemen’s Corner: Support 4-H youth livestock projects

July is here and many local youth are working feverishly to prepare for their county fairs. This week, Drovers CattleNetwork posted commentary on CNN’s Eatocracy blog, “Five Reasons to Buy from Your Local 4-H.” The editors of this blog interviewed Kelly Liken, executive chef and owner of Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, CO, who supports locally grown foods and 4-H youth in her area. While Liken’s post supported the 4-H program, many folks posted comments about the “desensitizing” of kids to the suffering of animals.

You and I know the harvesting of animals is just a part of the circle of life. Whether our kids participate in 4-H or not, we do our best to teach them at a very young age that even their favorite bucket calf must go “to town,” so humans can reap the benefits of food and other byproducts. As Trent Loos once said, “Everything lives and everything dies. Death with a purpose gives full meaning to life.”

Unfortunately, these days, most people are so far removed from the farm and ranch they can’t recognize that most of their food comes from some place other than a grocery store. One lady commented on the blog that 4-H basically creates cold-blooded killers and claims that 4-H helps “desensitize youngsters into having no emotional attachment to animals raised for food.”

As farmers and ranchers, we know that’s just not true. I know we can all recall a time or two when we saw a kid cry as their animal leaves the sale ring. Of course these kids have some emotional attachment to the animals they are showing. They’ve spent their summer washing, combing, leading and feeding their calves in preparation for the big show. The difference is they know where their food comes from, and without the harvesting of cattle, people all across the world would go hungry. Farm and ranch kids, even if not in 4-H, really understand the “pasture to plate” process. Kids who sell their calves during the auction at the end of shows also receive money for their hard work and dedication throughout the summer, giving them an added sense of accomplishment.

One resounding theme from those claiming 4-H is “un-evolved” and desensitizes our youth, is that they truly believe all animals are tortured before they are harvested. It seems as though the few well-publicized incidents of animal abuse have done some major damage to our industry. As unfortunate as this is, it is a reminder of how easily consumers are influenced. As producers, we need to do a better job of making sure our peers are adhering to appropriate animal care techniques; then we must tell consumers the truth instead of allowing somebody else to tell our story!

As local county achievement days and fairs draw near, I urge you to support 4-H clubs in your area. 4-H has come a long way since its beginnings, including a new focus on science and technology, but its core remains the same, “head, heart, hands and health.” 4-H is a great program for all kids and teaches them skills that last a lifetime.

Recommended Stories For You

Don’t forget our 3rd annual Cowboy Olympics is coming up on Saturday, July 23, at the Thunderstik Lodge in Chamberlain. If you’d like to participate or if you have a team lined up already, contact the SDCA office at 605-945-2333 to register.

July is here and many local youth are working feverishly to prepare for their county fairs. This week, Drovers CattleNetwork posted commentary on CNN’s Eatocracy blog, “Five Reasons to Buy from Your Local 4-H.” The editors of this blog interviewed Kelly Liken, executive chef and owner of Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, CO, who supports locally grown foods and 4-H youth in her area. While Liken’s post supported the 4-H program, many folks posted comments about the “desensitizing” of kids to the suffering of animals.

You and I know the harvesting of animals is just a part of the circle of life. Whether our kids participate in 4-H or not, we do our best to teach them at a very young age that even their favorite bucket calf must go “to town,” so humans can reap the benefits of food and other byproducts. As Trent Loos once said, “Everything lives and everything dies. Death with a purpose gives full meaning to life.”

Unfortunately, these days, most people are so far removed from the farm and ranch they can’t recognize that most of their food comes from some place other than a grocery store. One lady commented on the blog that 4-H basically creates cold-blooded killers and claims that 4-H helps “desensitize youngsters into having no emotional attachment to animals raised for food.”

As farmers and ranchers, we know that’s just not true. I know we can all recall a time or two when we saw a kid cry as their animal leaves the sale ring. Of course these kids have some emotional attachment to the animals they are showing. They’ve spent their summer washing, combing, leading and feeding their calves in preparation for the big show. The difference is they know where their food comes from, and without the harvesting of cattle, people all across the world would go hungry. Farm and ranch kids, even if not in 4-H, really understand the “pasture to plate” process. Kids who sell their calves during the auction at the end of shows also receive money for their hard work and dedication throughout the summer, giving them an added sense of accomplishment.

One resounding theme from those claiming 4-H is “un-evolved” and desensitizes our youth, is that they truly believe all animals are tortured before they are harvested. It seems as though the few well-publicized incidents of animal abuse have done some major damage to our industry. As unfortunate as this is, it is a reminder of how easily consumers are influenced. As producers, we need to do a better job of making sure our peers are adhering to appropriate animal care techniques; then we must tell consumers the truth instead of allowing somebody else to tell our story!

As local county achievement days and fairs draw near, I urge you to support 4-H clubs in your area. 4-H has come a long way since its beginnings, including a new focus on science and technology, but its core remains the same, “head, heart, hands and health.” 4-H is a great program for all kids and teaches them skills that last a lifetime.

Don’t forget our 3rd annual Cowboy Olympics is coming up on Saturday, July 23, at the Thunderstik Lodge in Chamberlain. If you’d like to participate or if you have a team lined up already, contact the SDCA office at 605-945-2333 to register.

Go back to article