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.
“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:
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.