Monday, August 15, 2005

A Warning about 4-H

It can make you and your children very sad.

I guess one of the reasons that 4-H exists is to help develop youth in rural areas to have some expertise in farming. Part of a farmer's job is to sell what he raises, usually for consumption, which is great if you are raising carrots and peas, but traumatic if you are raising things that exhibit personality. The more personality something has, the harder it is to contemplate it on your dinner plate.

This year Hannah and Ben both raised a pig and a goat each and Ben raised a rabbit. Ben worked with his goat so well that it grew very attached to him and followed him around like a puppy. Hannah's wasn't quite so well trained, but they were very amusing to watch and you could definitely see that they had different personalities.

As part of the 4-H program, if you raise an animal in imitation of farmers, you must auction it off. As the time for loading the animals up for the trip to the butcher's drew near, faces got longer and longer. In the end, there was hardly anyone who wasn't crying, either because their "pet" was going away to be eaten, or because they were in sympathy with the kids.

I think next year we will have dairy goats instead.

4 comments:

Puritan Mama said...

Oh, cheryl, I feel their pain. I had a bucket-fed calf through 4-H as a youngster. My dad didn't want me to name it, but when I insisted, we decided on Chuck - as in Chuck Roast - so I would never forget where he was going to end up...
It was a sad day indeed. Milk goats sound like a fabulous idea. :)

Mom said...

I wouldn't make a good farmer or farm wife. I'd spend all of my time crying over the slaughter and probably wouldn't be able to eat the meat.

Connie Banack said...

Having been a long-time 4-Her myself, I totally understand. Though I opted for horses, love them and didn't have to see them leave! Dair goats sounds like a fine compromise.

Ashley said...

Mrs Grenon; I highly recommend dairy goats as a wonderful alternative to the entire meat-goat problem (plus, you'll get to drink that lovely raw milk too! As long as it is processed correctly it will taste awesome). We have horrible times auctioning off our unwanted bucklings (it's very sad...I HATE doing it, I can so empathize with the other kids). If you do decide to go the dairy goat route I volunteer to be a question-and-answer person for anything involved therewith. :D I love them and we're actually trying to get rid of some now (if you want to look at our website it's www.geocities.com/ayrsmoss) and I don't even like selling the ones NOT going for meat. Ack. Alas, getting attached to production animals isn't good. But at least I know they're not going to be sent to the butcher. Heh.
Love,
~Ashley Shaw~