Nothing that the animal welfare group called the People for Ethical treatment of Animals does should surprise us. This group sends activists to state fairs to throw pies in the faces of pork queens. PETA has displayed images of naked, pregnant women on all fours in sow crates.
This time they’ve crossed the line. This time they’ve gone too far. PETA posted a blog bashing FFA, the premier leadership organization for high school youth in agricultural classes.
The real message was that everyone should be vegans. But before the blog reached that conclusion, it bashed FFA as an organization that doesn’t promote leadership- instead it teaches young people how to mistreat animals. And instead of supervised agricultural experience programs being educational, the blogger insisted this program only teach youth how to cause pain for animals.
Many claims in the multi-point piece were outlandish. We could refute each one, but that plays into their strategy. It would give the appearance of taking their rant seriously.
We could also send you to their website, but that would drive up views, which is undoubtedly what they wanted. It’s too ridiculous to delve into its’ details, yet too menacing to ignore.
National FFA encouraged students and alumni to post positive things about FFA on social media, while staying away from the PETA site.
I rarely use social media. If I was posting something on Facebook about my experiences in FFA as a member, and later as an FFA adviser, it might go like this.
Through FFA I learned that it’s OK to talk in front of people. I was a shy kid whose face turned red when called upon in class.
Through FFA I learned it was OK to dream. I told my ag teacher I wanted to be a farm broadcaster. He was kind enough not to laugh. Serving agriculture as a writer has been more fulfilling than anything I ever imagined.
Through FFA I learned there are places outside of Indiana. I traveled to Kansas City, Oklahoma, even Louisville-all because of FFA. I saw the world outside of our community, and began to form opinions of right and wrong.
Through FFA I learned that it’s not only OK, but prudent, to kill rodents and nuisance birds. I proudly participated in our chapter ‘pest contest,’ where we earned points for mice and rat tails.
Through FFA I learned it’s OK to not achieve everything you want- as long as you try. The first time I ran for chapter office I lost, beaten by an older, more popular kid. It hurt, but it was a valuable lesson.
Through FFA, I learned how to properly take care of animals. I had dairy heifers and barrows. I learned it was important to keep them dry and comfortable.
Through FFA, I learned the true purpose of animal production. We visited Rose Acres and a slaughterhouse, and understood that animals produced products, including meat.
Through FFA, I learned the value of competition. We celebrated our successes and used defeats to motivate us.
Through FFA, I learned to work with others. At camps I worked with kids from other schools as a team.
Through FFA, I learned leadership, which I have applied to help bring the story of modern agriculture to thousands of people.
It’s a free country. PETA can bash FFA. It doesn’t change reality. America has the safest, cheapest food supply in the world. Animals, raised humanely, are part of that food system. And many owners, managers and workers are former FFA members, and proud of it!