4-H: Head, Hands, Heart & HSUS?

If you’ve ever read my blog you know how much I love 4-H.

I credit 4-H livestock judging and showing programs for making me the person I am today. 4-H helped me develop the skills I now use to stick up for farmers and tell their stories.

I was heartbroken to learn this morning that this inspiring organization is now supporting the very people who would love to put my farm out of business and put an end to livestock exhibition: The Humane Society of the United States.

My friend and fellow ag blogger Amanda Nolz, first broke this story this morning on her Beef Daily blog, saying:

“4-H is an organization based on integrity, hard work, service to others and a passion for agriculture, yet, it certainly seems like nothing is sacred anymore. HSUS went directly to the future food producers of America to advance their mission to abolish animal agriculture and eliminate meat and dairy products from our diets. After reading their handout for kids at the conference, “Mission: Humane Action Guide” for teens, it’s quite obvious they are trying to convert wholesome farm kids to campaigning, lobbying HSUS activists.”

Like Amanda and thousands of other 4-H alumni, I am an active member of the animal agriculture industry and I am infuriated by the involvement of HSUS in any aspect of 4-H.

Has 4-H forgotten that they are run through land grant university college of agriculture extension services? How about the fact that the National 4-H Headquarters is a part of the United States Department of Agriculture?

How could such an agriculture affiliated organization turn their back on the animal production half of the industry?

Its time for 4-H members and alumni to stick up for the integrity of the organization that made such an impact on us. Let the National 4-H Headquarters know that working with HSUS is not acceptable:

National 4-H Headquarters, USDA: (202) 401-5165 or natl4hconf@csrees.usda.gov or on facebook.

UPDATE: April 2, 2010 9:30 a.m.

The National 4-H Headquarters released a statement on facebook this morning addressing the prescence of the Humane Society of the United States at National 4-H Conference, saying in part:

“For the 2010 National 4-H Conference, a proposal titled “Animal Instincts: Service Learning and Animal Welfare” was submitted by the Humane Society of the United States. It was reviewed by the planning committee and found acceptable…This workshop was approved by the planning committee because the proposal aligned with the goals of the 4-H Conference and did not present any indication of anti-animal agriculture views or positions.”

Personally, this only made me more upset.

The National 4-H Headquarters never apologized to their members and alumni who are actively involved in animal agriculture. Again, I realize that livestock shows are only a part of 4-H’s many opportunities, however, livestock and animal programs as a whole make up a large percentage of 4-H involvement.

The real issue here is that the National 4-H Conference Planning Committee felt that a workshop submitted and put on by the HSUS was acceptable. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

As passionate 4-H members and alumni, it is our responsibility to educate our 4-H state staff about the true intentions of HSUS and encourage them to share these concerns with their national counterparts.

This does not mean we hang current 4-H members, educators, and agents out to dry.They need our support more than ever, especially those involved in animal agriculture.

By working together we can protect one of the greatest youth programs in the world from those like HSUS who intend to use our youth to further their political agenda.

About Celeste

Celeste grew up on a family beef cattle and show pig farm in Western Kentucky. In addition to farming and life as a restaurant wife, Celeste owns Celeste Communications where she works as a photographer, graphic designer, videographer and consultant. This blog is Celeste's personal soapbox. Any ranting or raving is her own and does not reflect the opinions of any of her clients. All photos and posts are copyrighted property of Celeste Communications.


4-H: Head, Hands, Heart & HSUS? — 3 Comments

  1. Wow, what a complete misreading and overreaction. HSUS and 4-H actually have many common goals.

    As a prior 4-H’er I eat meat, but I have friends who are vegetarians. It’s cool. they respect me, I respect them. It’s part of today’s world. As a meat eater, though, I also support HSUS…they have excellent goals and do really good work.

    No one at HSUS is trying to undermine the agricultural community or end agriculture. They’re out to end the cruel treatment to animals, which is exactly what I learned at 4-H…you take good care of the animals you raise, you treat them humanely. These are supported by HSUS as well. HSUS does not mandate vegetarianism, but it is offered as an option….and you will have friends or relatives or in laws some day (if you don’t already) who are vegetarians.

    Take a breath, reread the information with fresh eyes. It’s not as you’re portraying.

    I support 4-H, but I also support HSUS. You can easily do both, just as the National 4-H Council did. Maybe everyone needs to take a deep breath and look at what they were looking at.

  2. I strongly encourage you to look into how HSUS is using your financial contribution. They operate no animal shelters and use less than 1% of their budget to support animal shelters. A large portion of their budget is spent on supporting legislation that puts family farmers (often former 4-Hers) out of business and increases food costs for consumers.

    Lastly, I highly doubt I will have any relatives who do not eat meat. My family has raised livestock for years and we know how important meat is to a balanced diet. My fiance will be the 4th generation to operate his family’s bar-b-q restaurant.

    Not only do we eat meat as a nutritious part of our diet but we work hard to make it more affordable for you the consumer so that you too can eat healthy.

  3. I was at the conference and attened that work shop. I did not agree but its nice to hear what other people think. by the was the conference was planed by the USDA, it was NOT 4-H

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