To the editor:
I would like to address the letter written regarding the mistreatment of fair pigs ("Animal treatment is disheartening," Aug. 26.)
First and foremost, none of these children willfully harm their fair projects for the sole purpose of pleasing a judge.
There are certain ways different projects are shown in the ring. Understanding how this works is crucial for the participant on being successful or not.
There two divisions of showing a market fair project. The first is showmanship. This category is where the judge solely judges the participant. It is crucial to attract and hold the judge's attention. It proves to the judge how well behaved the animal is and how much dedication to time is spent working with the animal. To win this is a great achievement. The second is market show. Most know that in this category is where the animal is being judged. Maintaining control of the animal is the only way a judge can see the animal's structure and conformity.
4-H'er's know that this is a market show with market animals. They understand or should understand that market animals are raised for human consumption. As shocking as this may be to some people, this is where your table meat comes from.
The children work hard and are dedicated to producing the best market animals they can. To insinuate anything to the contrary is degrading both to them and their families. Sure, some tears are shed at the end of the week, but for some, they are already planning next year's project.
The 4-H focus and purpose are this: Engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills.
We should never lose sight on why there is a 4-H. It has developed our youth into some of the finest citizens this country has to offer. We can only hope it will remain for another 100 years.