I was recently pointed in the direction of a website called Eye on Wagner Farms, as well as a facebook page. Wagner Farms is used by the Glenview 4-H Clovers and the sole purpose of this website is to save the 4-H animals from slaughter. It seems the people opposing Wagner Farms are worried about their young children that are involved in 4-H having to witness the death of these animals.
As a farm kid, I grew up with a healthy respect for livestock and the life cycle. I would fall head-over-heels, madly in love with newborn calves, bottle feed them, lovingly care for them and watch them grow. All the way up to the day they were sold for beef. Some of those calves even ended up on our own dinner table.
I think it's safe to say I grew up to be a fairly well adjusted person, even after witnessing the horrors of these "brutal deaths". In fact, I not only turned out okay, I learned a great deal. I was raised to nurture and care for these animals in the best way I could. I was never in 4-H, but most of my friends were and I helped with their projects. No one looked forward to the day your prized hog or steer would hit the auction at the end of the fair, but you knew that if you took care of that animal and raised it the best you could, your odds of getting a big fat check were a lot better.
Is 4-H or even farming in general all about the money? Of course not. But when it comes down to putting food on your own table and a roof over your own head, of course you care about the money in the end. You not only care about the animals, but you want them to grow up to be as healthy as they can be so you can make a profit.
I think this movement of "Let's disillusion our kids about the life cycle" is crazy. What it boils down to is: do you want food on your table, or do you want your child to grow up hungry and uninformed about where food comes from?
I'll take food - a big fat juicy steak - on my table and a lesson in life.
**For an interview with the founder of the Clover 4-H Chapter, Todd Price, click here.