As a high school student taking agricultural classes it was unheard of to not be in the FFA. I started taking animal science and agricultural classes my 9th grade year because I wanted to be a vet. My class was the first class in WV to start Majoring and Minoring to graduate. So like collage you had to take certain classes to meet the criteria to graduate. This was supposed to carry you into your particular field of study for collage. Kinda like a head start. So anyways. I took Intro to Agriculture my Freshman year. Then animal sciences classes every year after that. The place we took classes is The Marion County Vocational techical center. Our classes for animal science are supposed to be so good that Collage students would come and take them.
My animal science teacher, Dr. Watson, was very much into the FFA. I didn't really see it my freshman year when I told him I had no interest in being in the FFA. But every year after that his attitude got worse and worse with people in his classes that where not in the FFA. I think it was my sophomore year my 5th period class just so happened to fall during the FFA meetings. So I had to sit through them. He also made me be in that years yearbook picture even though I told him that being in the FFA fell way outside my beliefs. I will say even though his attitude wasn't always the best he didn't make me dissect any animals when they would do it. He would give me book work. So that was nice. Even as a freshman when he was playing the videos for proper slaughtering techniques and I did want to finish watching it after the first cow was stunned. He let me do book work. I figure he thought I would grow out of the animal thing since I had to take his classes for the next 4 years. I will say he had us watch a pig dissection in the freezer one day. It was awful. So back to the FFA. 99.9% (thats a guess) of people who went through that class was in the FFA. If you wanted certified on you diploma at graduation for animal science to carry it with you to collage you had to be in the FFA and meet certain criteria. I didn't graduate under a certified FFA program. They made the students feel like if you didn't then you would never get into collage to be a vet. I am sure that is not true though. Anyways.
The FFA.. every year I had to watch and listen to all of the horror stories of the FFA members. From picking the cutest little pig, calves, and chicks.. to how they had them slaughtered or in some cases did it them selves. Two boys in particular were awful. The one brought in the pig for the dssection above. He shot it 3 times and finished it off by beating it to death and making its eye fall out...so.. Dr. Watson told him that it had to be done right next time.. thats all that was said about it... I know getting back to the FFA. I think it is horrible. Most of the people in our classes where in their to go to collage to become veterinarians. Most actually for small animals. But almost all of our classes turned into live stock management, diseases, ect. I do regret not paying more attention during classes. I did do very well. But the teacher was off putting. The people not in the FFA was always doing book work while his FFA pets were always excused from class to do what ever they "needed" to get done... Did I mention the freezer for the FFA was in the back of our class room??? yeah no joke... So it was always something that I had to deal with. I would have taken the classes again though. For the animal info I learned. But I still would not have been in the FFA. So saying that. I am moving now to the county fair.
It has always been a thing we do. Going to the Mannington District Fair. I went every year as a kid and not I take my sister ever year. But I am beginning to re think this. Last year, the first time since I was a child, I walked through the barns. All the FFA & 4-H animal were there. I ended up trying to talk my husband into bringing home a hog! a huge hog that I knew would be turned into bacon & spare ribs in the near future. Probably needless to say, My husband would not let me bring him or her home... We don't have enough room where we live or really enough money to take care of a hog. That hog and those animals that I seen last year gave me a new look at our county fairs. I now dread going to them. I did take my sister this year but I refused to walk through the barns. I did go through a shop right in front of the barns and there was a poor hog that was screaming almost the entire time we was in the shop and I could hear people laughing in the barn. I don't know what was going on. I hope it isn't as horrible as all my thoughts.
So now THE FFA & 4-H have made me dread the fair. I told my husband that I am not sure I will even take my children to see the fair. To have the care free fun that I had when I was little. And that is awful. County fairs should not have anything to do with these programs.
Kids from ages 8 to 20 raise animals that they must have slaughtered at the end. They sale these animals for profit. What is that teaching our children? That slaughtering a living, breathing, feeling being is ok.. as long as you get some cash for it??? That its ok to abuse these animals because they are going to be slaughtered anyway??? How can we teach our children to have so little mercy and compassion for others??? Its very sad. I will put up so more info later when I have my thoughts put together more.
And as for 4-H ...Head, Heart, Hands, Health.... How does raising and saleing livestock have anything to do with that. There website said "Green since 1902".. How is raising livestock green in anyway? How is eating meat healthy? High cholesterol that clogs your arteries and takes out your heart.... How is raising an animal and knowing that it is going to slaughter good for your head, heart, hands, & health??? I just have no understanding of their moto... I have some family in the FFA and the two kids that I am talking about just made 40 dollars each off of their hogs that were sent to slaughter.. Their only worry was what they were going to spend their money on... So what did they learn??? Another things some of the kids in FFA and/or 4-H don't even raise their own animals. I don't get these programs at all. !!!!!
OK again before I just keep gripping I need to rethink my thought and try to put them together better. Sorry for the long rant. I will be back again to maybe make more since out of it...
O yeah.. and before the argument comes to something like it teaches responsibility and give them pride in knowing they have raised a great show animal... There are better ways to learn responsibility and gain pride while actually helping someone... Not growing an animal just for slaughter. Like working in a nursing home, animal shelter, helping with a day care or a soup kitchen... Don't cause more suffering then what already happens in this world!