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Experiencing agriculture

Friday, July 20, 2012

Greg Lear talks to students from Clay Central-Everly Elementary School about swine and the different types of pork during the second annual Ag Experience, which took place Thursday in the Livestock Pavilion at the Clay County Fairgrounds.
(Photos by Gabe Licht) [Order this photo]
Elementary students huddle around a pen, stretching to touch the hogs inside.

Greg Lear explains which cuts of meat come from each area of the animals.

They wrinkle their noses as he tells them the gelatin in gummy bears and marshmallows comes from the hooves of swine and cattle.

A youngster reacts to the feel of a dairy cow's nose during Ag Experience, sponsored by the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee. Visit www.spencerdailyreporter.com for a photo gallery from the event.
Later, they learn that corn is an ingredient in many of the foods they eat and the products they use.

It was all part of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee's second annual Ag Experience, which took place Thursday in the Livestock Pavilion at the Clay County Fairgrounds.

"It's just focused on the agricultural impact we have on the area, as well as showcasing to young and old the different types of livestock and their purposes," said Jarrett Smith, president-elect of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. "With kids this age, it's very educational for them and they soak it up like a sponge. Last year, we had comments from adults saying, 'I didn't even know that.'"

Cassie Galm, one of the group leaders for the event, said, "It amazes me how little some people know about agricultural life, when it can literally be in their backyard."

As the state reporter for the Iowa FFA Association, Galm is among the local contingent trying to change that.

"Be the voice for agriculture," Galm said. "Don't be afraid to talk and explain what's going on, to let people know what agriculture is and the life of a farmer is just awesome."

She enjoys being able to excite kids about agriculture and show them the many different career paths related to the field. Raising up a new generation of agriculture enthusiasts is important, she believes.

"The average age of a farmer is 56," Galm said. "There are so many farming operations that we need younger generations to come in and learn how to run them."

Animal science was another agricultural field represented Thursday, as veterinarian Mark Rees was on hand to share a little bit about his profession. Rees was a new addition to the event, as was the corn-based food display.

The event was expected to triple in size, with 250 individuals pre-registered and more than 300 anticipated to attend.

Smith is pleased to see the success of the event, which evolved from a farm and city mixer the Chamber had hosted for about 20 years.

"We kind of changed the format a little bit to get better participation and better education for the folks who live in town about what happens on the farm in agriculture in this area," Smith said.

He also thanked the volunteers who made the event possible.

"We have a great group of volunteers here in the agricultural community that are willing to pitch in and do this," he said. "If it wasn't for those people, this event wouldn't happen."

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What a totally sanitized and misleading presentation of how farmed animals live! Even worse than this false depiction of pet-like creatures is the total omission of the process by which their precious lives are stolen from them.

I hope the kids were informed that pigs live their entire short, miserable life in cages so small they can't move. I hope they were told that the loving dairy cow has her calves stolen from her repeatedly and that she herself gets dragged to the kill floor at a fraction of her age... I hope they let the kids know that male baby chicks are ground alive and/or suffocated so humans can "enjoy" eggs.

The list could go on endlessly about the inefficient use of land and water - The waste of resources that could go to feed millions of other humans. I hope at the very least - The kids were told one absolute truth: Humans can thrive on a plant based diet. So all the killing is totally unnecessary save for the benefit of profit and gustatory gluttony. I think the children are owed at least that much reality.

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 12:06 AM

Humans are omnivores and thriving on plant based diet is quite a stretch, Meanwhile I am going to enjoy my breakfast of cage free eggs and pasture raised bacon, none of that poison of wheat consumption for me.

-- Posted by Guy Fawkes on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 7:53 AM

The kids and adults at the Ag Experiance learned more in a few minutes about what the farm animals eat, gain and support human life than a lot of consumers know about the products they buy weekly.

Pigs are used for more than just food!!!!!!

Pigs heart valves are being used world wide to replace bad human vaves. Get a 2nd. degree burn sometime and see what is used to leave you with greeatly reduced scaring, it comes from the pig.

Pregnant sows are a very aggressive animal the use of gestation crates protects them from each other. Have you ever seen a sow have her litter of 12 new born baby pigs born in the middle of winter in this country? Barns are used to provide everything they need, cool in summer, warm in winter and proper nutrition to raise baby pigs that help to feed the WHOLE worlds ever expanding population.

FACT 60% plus of vegetarions fall of the NO meat wagon the human body was made for consumption of Meat.

-- Posted by porkchop54321 on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 11:31 AM

In reguards the clean invironment with the kids were going back to their care takers facility and with the bio securities used on farms today we cannot take the kids to the farm so take the pigs to one location instead of the kids to multiple locations.

The kids were ALL informed as to the expected life span of the pigs.

The kids that had the good fortune to visit the Clay County Fair grounds now know a lot more of where their food comes from.

Livestock production is done by independant family farmers, they have been the reason this great county has had a cheap source of food to eat. Livestock production has made this rural community what it is today.

Greg Lear

-- Posted by porkchop54321 on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 11:58 AM

Yes Guy Fawkes - Humans are omnivores and that means we can eat flesh not that we have to... How pitiful to take lives when there are many other (equally healthy) choices.

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 7:44 PM

Yes porkchop54321 I'm aware that everything -from the squeal to the tail- is used for maximum profit in the pig business. But likewise regarding medical benefits my guess is that eating those beings causes way more problems than what "benefits" are derived. And since you're so concerned with human healthy - I presume you support human stem cell research too - So we can free these animals from having to be needlessly killed for us. Yes?

The most important thing sows, and gilts and piglets and all beings need is their lives. Surely you're not saying that without man pigs wouldn't survive? If so --- What's all the fuss about "feral" hogs? No... It's only the "domestic" man-made pigs that have trouble surviving - Especially surviving our rapaceous clutches.

Finally, I care little about what every other thoughtful or thoughtless consumer is doing - statistic wise. Personally, I've had the courage to question indoctrinations that remove me far away from group thinking and manipulations from the mob. This independence has brought me closer to justice and compassion --- I would never turn back from these virtues. Good luck maintaining "social license". ;)

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 7:59 PM

Hello Greg Lear - You must have missed my analogy... Obviously and of course - you're concerned over the physical risks to the kids (and pigs) in an animal agriculture environment. There are many aren't there?

I meant sanitized in a way that completely hides the other realities that pigs endure... The "secret" things that adults would rather children not know of - The blood spilling and that sort of ugliness. They kids may be "informed" of the "expect life span of those pigs" but I doubt seriously that any of the details are revealed - Let alone the apt description that the pigs are "killed". You may call their experience "good fortune" - I on the other hand know it as indoctrination. Your industry depends on their young hearts and minds trusting all you say is necessary... But of course that's not so.

You say that animal agriculture has been a cheap source of food. But you haven't touched on the many hidden costs that consumers never see up front. The federal grants and funding... The suspension of EPA oversight. Communities who can't escape the smell or the flies. The devastation to land, rivers and waterways. The untold biological hazards. The needless use of antibiotics as "fattening" agents. The extreme wastefulness of water resources. The industrial use of corn, grain and soy that is fed to "livestock" rather than to humans directly - Thereby contributing to human starvation. The mono-cropping... The fossil fuels... The deforestation... The methane and ammonia issues --- And we certainly have good reason to believe that aside from dangerous pathogens in flesh-foods... Animal-meat is probably not the healthiest thing to consume. (Not by a long shot).

Society pays in many ways for the delight of eating those little sausages. But worse still is that they are gotten from innocent victims who's lives meant everything to them.

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 9:40 PM

watch out angry vegan on the prowl. They will not be debated with. They don't play well with others. Looking for utopia that doesn't exactly exist. Yes plants are important, but so are animals to me and I will eat it, wear it, be prescribed it and whatever I want. Do you think animals hug each other and live in this philosophical dream too! Nope! you just think so. No the USHS and other groups are working hard at buying stocks, owing votes, and scaring corporations into believing they should agree to supposed animal welfare issue to help us. They actually want to eliminate meat consumption through price increases. Get the real facts, don't be fooled by angry vegan thugs who make think Bambi is real. You should all know that milk doesn't come from the dairy aisle and steak doesn't come from the meat dept.

-- Posted by Steelerfan100 on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 10:47 PM

Well said, Steelerfan100!

I am never surprised by the irrational rantings and error-laced diatribes of individuals who sincerely do NOT understand agriculture. My bet is that three-fourths of the children who attended the Ag Experience left the event with a better grasp on the realities of agriculture than the aforementioned vegan.

My family survives and thrives on agriculture. It's our livelihood and our life. Farmers take great pains to practice good husbandry and animal well fair with their livestock because the animals' well-being and quality care results in less-stress, better quality meat (AND PRODUCTS -- LIKE VEGAN'S LEATHER BELT, PURSE, COATS, SHOES, WALLET, SEATS IN YOUR CAR, yada yada, ya...), and a healthy income for us.

It sounds as if you've seen one too many hidden camera expose' shows about animal abuse. The reality is that this isn't the norm and RARELY occurs. Yet, the ill-informed continue to mount attacks on the agricultural industry and paralyze the livelihoods of Rural America.

I'm consistently amazed at the effort people will put into fabricating and perpetuating this stuff. It's amazing how one can rant about the mistreatment of animals, and yet all the while you fail to acknowledge that it's completely LEGAL for late-term abortions to continue in this land. This involves the dismemberment of REAL LIVE HUMANS RIPPED from the womb of their mothers.... How do you even compare that to your lame argument of a cow whose calf is taken from her early? REALLY? SERIOUSLY?

Either way, I vow to earnestly continue the fight against attacks on agriculture and I'll up the anti by fighting for HUMAN LIFE, too!

-- Posted by ruralgirl on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 10:23 PM

Hello Steelerfan100 - If I appear to be angry it's outrage at the taking of innocent life. It is certainly justifiable to want to protect the weakest among us... At least that's what I was taught some 50 odd years ago - That it was what was expected of good people... To defend those who had no means to help themselves. And let's face it - The animals have done us no harm in the least - Surely nothing to warrant their cruel fate.

Now - As to your reference about wild animals killing and eating each other... What in the world has that got to do with what man is capable of and able to do? Nonhumans do many things we'd never consider imitating - Defecating in the woods, mating in groups, eating their young, living in trees and caves, and so on. So why are you attempting to compare us (the rational and "moral" species) to them?

I have no delusion that lions and alligators will still take down their prey for food... They have no choice - Their bodies require flesh to survive. It's quite different with humans. Add to that that they are not capable of ethical choices like we are and the absurdity of the comparison becomes even sillier.

BTW - I am not affiliated with hsus, peta or any other group... I'm merely standing up for what I know to be true: Mankind will not suffer if he extends compassion to others. Surely if you were a victim - you'd want someone in your corner too. Yes?

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 10:49 PM

Hi ruralgirl - You misunderstand... My objection is not with the "cruel" treatment of nonhumans - It's with their "use" and "disposal" altogether.

I care very little about your practices for "welfare" or how many additional square inches of space you think is appropriate for a bird to live her life on... It is the whole premise that you view them as production units... As "things" for your frivolous demands that I object to.

And when you say "quality care" - Surely you're mistaken because care means to be concerned with an other's continuation - Without compromise, harm, injury or damage to their bodily integrity. We must admit that a bolt gun to the head and/or a knife slitting a throat negates all that "care". Put yourself in their place --- Would you say you were given quality "care" while dangling from a bleed rail?

And I'm confused... Are you saying that there aren't alternatives to animal leather? Not my belt, shoes, coat, wallet or the seats in my car made of the remains of a dead being - I assure you.

Also you're quite presumptuous in your insinuation of where I stand on pro-life or pro-choice issues. Not only does this have NOTHING to do with deliberately breeding beings just to kill - It speaks volumes of your obsessions and your desperation at creating some kind of moral high ground with a straw-man. Please, stick to the argument I raise - Which is the UNNECESSARY harm of killing of living beings for monetary profit and gustatory gluttony.

Finally I'll leave you with this thought attributed to G B Shaw: "If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth - beings who

considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals - would you concede them the rights over you that you assume

over other animals?"

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 11:20 PM

I appreciate your opinion, I just don't have the same stance.

-- Posted by Steelerfan100 on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 6:35 AM

@ Bea, quoting G.B. Shaw, a dedicated socialist. So you'll think ill of me for selling you beans and corn for a profit, too??

-- Posted by clayfarmer on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 8:10 AM

Those are my pigs that are pictured in this article, and you know what, we were giving the public an opportunity to gain more knowledge about what they are putting on their dinner plates at all meals. We are trying to engage the public to know what we are doing everyday of our lives to make a living and that image and relationship that we have tried for years to build up, has been crushed and torn apart by people like you that attack the image. We don't go to the barn and record us kicking our pigs or beating them, those are the brain-washed HSUS or PETA members that go and get the job and then sneak in a camera and do it themselves. Yes, the moms are put into gestation crates, its to protect the babies from their mom. I would like to see you deal with a sow that's farrowing.

Copying and pasting quotes into this is not going to prove a point. People are going to scroll down to the bottom of this positive and outreaching article only to find the negatives of the livestock industry.

In 2009, the United States alone produced and raised 113 million pigs. Without that, we would not be the nation that we are today. Will billions of dollars going out of the nation from selling pork to other countries, tell me how our nation would make money? Selling green beans to Canada is not going to help our over populated county strive. Think about what you have said in this article, and then analyze what everyone else has commented. You're not taking the opportunity to view the other side, you're a vegetarian and you think that is all good under God's name, but go in your bible and look up Genesis 9:3, it says "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." Did you read that? Everything, including animals.

"Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat."

-- Posted by ZackLear on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 12:37 PM

I would like to thank and support Bea Elliott for all she has written. As a vegan and animal advocate, I align all my values with hers. Since she has said everything I would say, and said it most convincingly, I will add only that any attempt by agribusiness to whitewash and indoctrinate a whole new crop of children in order to perpetuate animal use and abuse is doomed to failure.

You see, relatively few years ago, people did not have instant access to information the way they do today. Barely a generation ago, people had to rely on school, teachers, or the library for whatever scant resources were available about "modern" farming practices, or worse, simply trust that the USDA and our government were looking out for our best interests in doling out public information. Little did we know we were being kept in the dark and deliberately deceived by agribusiness.

Today's children are Internet savvy, keenly aware of the world around them, and it is only a matter of time, and a few keyboard clicks away, until they find the undercover videos, learn the awful truth about how animals are factory raised and factory slaughtered, and join the growing animal-rights network. And, you'd better believe they will do more than wrinkle their sweet little noses. They will be outraged at how their elders tried to trick them by telling partial truths or outright lies.

It's only a matter of time before today's kids realize the damage to their health, their Earth, and, of course, the animals a meat-based diet causes. They will learn the many health benefits of plant-based foods and they will insist on living according to higher values. Today's children are the hope for our world and they will be much smarter about things than we were.


-- Posted by Veganforlife on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 2:36 PM

"It's only a matter of time before today's kids realize the damage to their health, their Earth, and, of course, the animals a meat-based diet causes." What are you trying to get at? The fact that 100 percent of the population before 1940 in the united states lived off of an animal based diet? Scientists say that men and women born before 1960 have an overall healthier body, that's because they received the nutrition they needed through meat products. So many people that have turned to an all vegetable diet are taking in more hazardous chemicals from the crops than consumers of livestock are.

They term vegan was not even coined until 1944, and it was coined because vegetarians were eating dairy products and that was so wrong. So why haven't you stopped using leather purses, better stop wearing all that makeup(including chap stick), also better cut out all gelatin products, stop wearing buttons and that perfume, oh and one last major bi-product, if you're diabetic and a vegan, you better stop using your Insulin, it comes from pigs. The list goes on and on that you use but yet call yourself a "vegan." Its just a tittle.

On and you think that agribusiness is doing all this, you're wrong. I just graduate. From high school, I'm part of the new age revolution that is feeding the population of tomorrow. So just let us do our job.

-- Posted by ZackLear on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 3:12 PM

@clayfarmer - Regardless of Shaw's political beliefs... Argue the context of that quote if you can. Rephrased --- If another species wanted to enslave you and kill you because you were somehow "inferior" to them --- My guess is you'd scream your bloody head off about the injustice of it all. I don't see how human's domination towards "lesser" animals is any different.

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 3:40 PM

@ZackLear - You may physically control those pigs... And even legally "own" them --- But their lives still don't "belong" to you. Their lives belong to themselves - That's the trick... We each get one and only life. Those who take that life do so by theft and force.

Brainwashed? Surely you can't be referring to a group of people (myself included) that have the courage to question ancient indoctrination? I'd say the "brainwashing" is continuing a ritualized "habit" without knowing why. Believe it... I spent almost 5 decades consuming animal-flesh never aware of what consequences I was responsible for and that there were options to avoid the negative impacts. From this side of the fence I remember well the zombie-like "chicken, pork & beef" eating that never got examined at the root. I know brainwashing and choosing to eat delicious plants over dead animals isn't it. ;)

Sure the money is exactly what counts to you... It's profitable to peddle flesh - It's a profession as old as dirt. But what of other people's money? The taxpayer that must foot the bill for devestated water-ways from factory farm run-off - The government "buy outs" of pork, beef, dairy and so on... The funding, grants and subsidies that go to pay YOU to raise and kill pigs --- I've seen enough to know that it's much more than consumer "demand" that drives your industries. I know that if it weren't for lobbying and delegating with other countries to take "meat" off our hands - The U.S. animal farming industries would collapse. But of course as with the case of pig profit... It never was a concern that thousands of Asian farmers were going bankrupt because of foreign imports affecting the substanance farmers. If it was "demand" you wouldn't need all your "check-off" propaganda to dispose of your goods. And you certainly wouldn't need the government to fund your enterprise. They may be small but I can name dozens of "vegan" products that don't get a penny of taxpayer money and they do fine with the genuine "free trade" of willing consumers.

You do understand though... That all your fears of financial disaster without animal agriculture were the exact same rationalizations that slaveholders used to discourage emancipation. And the south didn't collapse... Farming cotton, soy, tobbacco (and animals) still continued. So your worries are totally uncalled for.

Finally, please do not confuse veganism or vegetarianism with theism. They have nothing to do with each other... But for the record which "god" are you "quoting"? Thor? Cronus? Zeus? Shiva? Brahma? Ogdad? Tyr? Inti? Tane? Tengri? Arya? Dushara? Inyan? Odin? Horus? Well... You see there are many beliefs - And it shouldn't surprise you that many people of varing theologies eschew animal flesh for a variety of reasons. So the idea that your beliefs (based on your male-god) should be the measure and example for everyone is a bit presumptious - Don't you think?

However, I am familiar with your reference to Genesis and offer you this in return: Genesis 1:29 "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.) But we don't do a lot of things that ancient writings may tell us to do - right? We don't sell our daughters, beat our wives, own slaves or offer animal sacrifices... That "God-given" freewill lets us each determine what rings true in our hearts. Surely if one is rational and compassionate - Choosing not to kill when there are other ways is indeed the most pious option. Yes? Unless of course one's god was money - In which case... Anything is justified in the worship of it.


-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 4:39 PM

The ironic thing is that it was the eating of meat that caused our ancestors brain size to increase, increase to the point where we can debate on computers, in comfortable homes and comfortable lifestyles with little threat of true hunger in our town. Eat meat , don't eat meat, these are truly first world problems.

-- Posted by Guy Fawkes on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 6:34 PM

@ veganforlife, after watching the youtube video, I see you must believe I, a livestock producer is the cause of starving African childen. But you may want to check into those friendly dictators and corrupt governments there first.

And by looks looks of it, you have cured all forms of cancer. Is that what you are teaching the kids?

@ bea, I won't worry about aliens coming for me right now, I got bigger things to worry about today.

-- Posted by clayfarmer on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 7:39 PM

@ Guy Fawkes - Once it was a necessary evil. Remove the necessity and what's left? The bad (evil) habit of exploiting others without due cause.

I hope you consider too that as a species we probably didn't eat much meat at all: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/gues...

AND that once long ago we practically burned every calorie we ate "hunting" down food to consume. That drive-through McDeath and BurgerKill is certainly taking a toll on the bad health of "modern" man.

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 8:19 PM

Guy I was hoping you could think in abstracts... Obviously you're hyper-bound to the concrete methods of one dimensional, inside the box, don't color outside the lines, conventional, follow the rules, risk-free, sort of limitations. Sorry I misjudged your creative capabilities.

-- Posted by Bea Elliott on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 8:25 PM

i warned you.....they always need the last word.

-- Posted by Steelerfan100 on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 10:17 PM

My Granddads were small farmers, and not really very successful at it I might add. But they loved what they did, and we enjoyed visiting and watching Granddad R hand milk his few cows and slop his few pigs.

Now a cell phone, in the hands of a teenager, serves as their PC, camera, alarm clock, road atlas, calendar, and probably even more that this old man has not yet learned about.

Yep, things change all right.

The size of the population on this planet is increasing too rapidly, and the size of the middle class, especially in places like China, is exploding and demanding more meat as a protein source and more dairy products.

If someone does not supply that growing demand with modern agricultural practices, there will be social unrest, uprisings and maybe even wars.

I appreciate small farmers, but we live in a global economy.

I get to travel the world, working with producers and politicians to try and introduce more technology in countries dependent upon others to supply them with adequate protein.

We can never go totally back to the practices of my grandparents, not if we have compassion for consumers who already skip meals to make ends meet.

Not if we want to fight hunger and decrease social unrest

-- Posted by porkchop54321 on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 7:27 AM

Zack Lear, you complain about people copying and pasting, then you do exactly that. As far as Genesis 9:3, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." It's not the "food" most vegetarians object to, it's the CRUELTY.


And you lose all credibility when you state that "100 percent of the population before 1940 in the united states lived off of an animal based diet." Really? 100%?? So Susan B. Anthony, Horace Greeley, George Bernard Shaw and Henry David Thoreau were all just faking it?

Just because the term vegan wasn't coined until 1944 doesn't mean it didn't exist before then.

Personally, I like bacon, chicken, turkey, but I won't buy them in the grocery store because I believe doing so supports cruelty. Just a few days ago I bought several frozen chickens (at about $1.25 a lb)from a local family who raised them in a humane way, and I look forward to eating my first chicken in about 6 months. If that makes me not a true vegetarian, then so be it, but I will continue to do my part to speak up against the extremely cruel conditions in factory farms.


I eat eggs, but I buy them from a area backyard farmer for $2 a dozen - which I do not object to as it's a cost well worth some peace of mind.

Bea Elliott, I applaud you! You express yourself well, without sounding extremist. Keep spreading the word!

-- Posted by DHarris on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 8:31 AM

So DHarris, How do you think the local family kill the chickens that you have in your freezer.

They either hold the chicken down to chop off thier heads or did what my mom did when we butchered checkens. She stepped on their heads and pulled it off. Which way was more humane? Either way they still flopped in the dirt until they are dead. Thats what they do on a family farm.

-- Posted by retiredarmysarge on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 9:51 AM

DHarris were these chicken free range? If so, do you mind telling me where you purchased them? I have been looking for a local source for a while now.


-- Posted by Guy Fawkes on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 5:45 PM

Bea... Do you have time for coffee on Friday morning. 7am Family Table?

-- Posted by putziowa on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 8:30 PM

Retired: while neither of those scenarios seems very pretty, they do sound like a quick death. I don't object to the chickens being killed. What I object to is the horrible way factory farm chickens live their short, miserable lives, debeaked when they're chicks, then crammed together, several in each tiny cage. But I suspect you knew what my objection was, and you were just being disingenuous.

Guy Fawkes: Rather than giving out the name of someone who may not want it posted for all to see, if you want to email me at dianeharris72@hotmail.com, I'll be more specific.

-- Posted by DHarris on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 9:33 PM

Ruragirl: Do you use gestation crates?

-- Posted by DHarris on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 9:37 PM

@ Bea -- of course individuals like you want to compartmentalize and distance your arguments of animal cruelty far from the topic of abortion. It's simply because animal rights activists have no solid ground to stand upon, since your devotion reveals the GREATEST deception of them all. You care more for animals than humans -- and if it were not so -- you would be fighting for HUMAN LIFE with the same zeal and vigor in which you dedicate to your animal-rights arguments!

Don't patronize! The basis for your entire argument and belief system is horribly skewed and is worthless fodder in the greater scheme of things. Humans have souls... animals do not!

God made animals for the human race and established man to rule over the animals. While many enjoy companionship with animals as well, other animals were designed to eat. . . And when we eat an animal, it must die.

As my favorite bumper sticker reads: "If God didn't make animals for us to eat, why'd He make them of meat?"

-- Posted by ruralgirl on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 8:27 AM

How about you leave the agricultural based state alone. Iowa places so many jobs through agriculture that you couldn't even get a grasp of. Our state is one of the most thriving states, and want to know why? BECAUSE OF AGRICULTURE. We try to help other people in other struggling countries because we want them to survive and not fall odd the planet. The pictures of ribbed out children with no fat on their bodies have been living off of plants, that's why they look like that because they don't get meat and therefore don't get the healthy amout of nutrients that they could get from meat. Glad I can go to the HSUS website and see all the points you made(or lack of points made) because those are the only points you can stand on. Why don't you just go and vent all this out on that website. I show pigs, and I can guarantee that those pigs live a better life than you do. Honestly. They get a diet which obviously they enjoy and produces the body faster and live in a less harsh environment that you do. You want to live in a meatless utopia, well if that's what you want, you need to stay in your house and out of society, because as of today, there is NOTHING you can do to stop us animal raisers from doing our livelihood.

Good drink....good meat. Good god, let's eat!

-- Posted by ZackLear on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 11:21 AM

Bea Elliot is a vegan 'hardcore vegan' who spends her days trolling the web searching for blogs, articles and news items relating to animal welfare and rights.

She thinks it is her God given duty to leave a comment, pushing her views on to other readers. She knows how to take a good learning opportunity like the Ag Experience and turn it into a blood battle. This is a comment by her on an article I found on google. (This is a surprisingly short comment for her

This is the article she is commenting on

Bea Elliott says:

That you distinguish "pet" animals from "livestock" is curious to me.

As it is understood chickens, cows, pigs and so forth have just as much interest in their lives as cats and dogs do. These "food" animals are just as aware of their world and want to live free from harm - just like Spot and Fluffy. How do you separate the care and treatment of one animal as opposed to another?

Is it their "cuteness"? Or their "tastiness"? Simply that some animals have monetary value does not justify abusing them.

As we know in the 21st century - it is not "necessary" to consume meat in order to thrive. Indeed science is telling us everyday that it is not healthy... Therefore, consuming flesh can be said to cause needless pain and suffering to animals.

Further, man does not need fur, leather, rodeos or circuses. Wouldn't you agree that using animals in such a way goes against the creed of animal "welfare"...

"Animal welfare groups do not believe it is inherently wrong to use animals for human gain as long as unnecessary suffering is avoided."

You see, all the ways which we use "farmed" animals, "entertainment" animals, etc. is "unnecessary".

It's really very simple if you abide by the literal meaning of the concept "necessary".

Nothing we do to animals is really "necessary" at all. Go Vegan.

She's a programmed robot, just like the rest. Arguing with her is a like a trying to run through a brick wall, she won't be moved.

-- Posted by ZackLear on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 5:34 PM

Bea, would it be safe to say a goal of your's is to discontinue meat consumption by every human in the world?

-- Posted by BMC on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 6:14 PM

For the record i am a farmer and eat meat everyday this may seem a bit elementary but i personally don't understand why it is more wrong to eat meat tban it is to eat vegetables both live and die? Also i would love to see how bea lives without using anything from animals if that were the case she wouldn't even be able to post her arguments on this blog ! Find me a computer that has no animal byproducts

-- Posted by Dougloof on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 7:05 PM

Also i am not trying to say that you are wrong i wouldn't do that we are individuals and have the right to make our own choices

-- Posted by Dougloof on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 7:09 PM

Same here, I could care less about what enters your body(preferably meat), but the fact that you're putting a negative view of our industry just pushes my buttons.

-- Posted by ZackLear on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 7:16 PM

I find it amusing when vegans and vegetarians try to make the argument that farmers mercilessly butcher livestock for profit, when the vegetables and fruits they eat are picked by illegal immigrants, mostly children, who are paid peanuts for the work they do.

I find it amusing these individuals scream bloody murder over a steer being butchered, yet sit and pound away at the keyboard on their laptop computers, which have components created by oil, imported from Iran, where humans are shot and killed by their own government.

So, I asked those same hypocritical people, why the blind eye when humans suffer from the choices you make as a consumer?

Furthermore, if you believe that animals are equal to humans, and should be treated as such, do us all a favor and build a hut in the forest and stay there.

Livestock and agriculture is and will be forever cherished by the people who work so desperately hard to preserve it and make it better for the next generation, and from what I have seen we're doing a damn good job.

Have some common sense.

-- Posted by common_sense1 on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 11:40 PM

So much anger expressed here, and why does it have to be an all or nothing mentality?

Just because someone cares about animals being treated in a humane way, why assume that means they don't care about people as well?

-- Posted by DHarris on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 8:42 AM

No angered expressed here at all, I'm showing you the hypocrisy of your argument.

As I said with your argument you are being anti-human. As humans we consume animals and plants, it is a necessity for survival.

I don't care if you are a vegetarian or vegan, I have plenty of tolerance for those individuals, yet so many of those people show no tolerance to individuals who eat meat or are in the agricultural industry and humanely raise their livestock, to feed those meat-eaters.

As I said before, if you think humans and animals are alike and should be treated as such, go live in the forest.

-- Posted by common_sense1 on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 9:42 AM

You're saying this to ME? When did I say I think humans and animals are "alike and should be treated as such"? I'm certainly not anti-human, and in no way have I expressed such an opinion.

And I have plenty of tolerance for people who eat meat. In fact my husband is not a vegetarian, though he has cut way back on his red meat consumption since a heart attack a couple of years ago.

I do think ZackLear and ruralgirl, in some of their above statements, sound a bit unhinged.

ruralgirl says to Bea: "You care more for animals than humans." That's pretty presumptuous of her, to claim to know another person's thoughts.

ZackLear says to Bea: "I can guarantee that those pigs live a better life than you do." What?? Where does he get the information on how Bea lives?

ZackLear says: "I could care less about what enters your body..." (The correct expression would be "couldn't care less") Then contradicts his own statement by saying "preferably meat."

You say: "if you believe that animals are equal to humans..." Who said that? I don't see it in any of the above posts.

Like I said, some of those posting here sound unhinged, but maybe that's just a result of their meat-heavy diet.

-- Posted by DHarris on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 10:55 AM

Though I cannot speak for those people, I can assume they are not unhinged, they are baffled by the ignorant commentary by individuals like Bea and yourself.

The commentary that individuals who are vegetarian or vegan, who have never stepped foot on a farm, never worked a day on a farm, and have no idea the management or up-keep of a family farms, come to conclusions and generalities based on a narrow mind view of the world.

Most, and when I say most, I mean almost all farms take tremendous care of their livestock, because it is their life, their well being. It matters to these people the health and nutritional diet of their livestock, to the extent some farms have hired help to only specialize in the well being and health of these animals.

So, when people criticize and make generalities of the agricultural community, some do become unhinged by the ignorance of the general public, but most will try to address the narrow minded individuals and bring light to what really happens on the average family farm. That is the only reason I'm wasting my time typing this currently, even though very few people are reading this.

-- Posted by common_sense1 on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 12:09 PM

I am irate right now because there are bigger issues in our society rather than how we give respect to our animals. How about you look and see how were feeding the rest of the world rather than telling people how to eat green. Who cares about my vocabulary, I just graduated so sorry I don't have a degree in copying and pasting from PETA's website. Don't even try to understand what we do with our animals. You have never seen how they live because you get paid to sit on your vegan butt all day to google articles like this. Get a job to help tomorrow and the future. I would invite you to my farm to see how well we treat our livestock, but it would be a cold day in you know what before I would let a disgracefull vegan step foot on my farm.

-- Posted by ZackLear on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 12:43 PM

I get paid to google articles? That's news to me. But you seem to know so much more about me than even I do! Or maybe you're just showing your ignorance. I should get a job to help tomorrow and the future? Where do you think I work, exactly? I copy and paste from PETA's website? Actually, I've never visited PETA's website. I live about 2 miles outside of Spencer and rather than telling people how to eat I'm simply sharing my reasons for how I choose to eat.

Again, your ignorance is showing. Woo-hoo, got a rise out of you, didn't I?

-- Posted by DHarris on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 2:26 PM

All this BS because some kids went to learn about farm animals. People need something else to do.

-- Posted by Toodles712 on Sat, Jul 28, 2012, at 11:56 AM

Bea Elliott- animals are used for other sources other than food as well so was curious if you don't use any of those items as well? I personally don't eat a lot of meat but do eat it when I'm hungry for it. Its human nature, sorry to say. I'm not saying your wrong for how you live your life but on that same token feel you can't say that about others as well. I myself have worked on hog farms in a farrowing barn and I can personally say that at least where I worked the pigs were kept at temps that were optimal for them, their feed was awesome. and although in pens (only small ones when farrowing), we made sure to get them up and moving around everyday! In fact we literally kept a journal of each pig everyday to make sure everything was going right with each one. As far as the toned down version that may have been presented to the kids, I don't personally feel its necessary to throw that directly at kids during their first exposure or under a certain age. This presented a good opportunity for a learning experience that alot of kids might not have ever otherwise experienced.

-- Posted by AshlyMeyer on Sun, Jul 29, 2012, at 4:16 PM

also curious on your stance of the fishing industry

-- Posted by AshlyMeyer on Sun, Jul 29, 2012, at 4:21 PM

Bea Elliott- you say the lives of the pigs belong to themselves. so do you think we should just set them all free and see what happens? what if they are starving, are we not to intervene because their live belongs to them, and its would be their choice to starve? I do have to agree with what someone mentioned above and say that it does say that you have seen too many of the videos online. Have you actually seen first hand and spent time on a farm to see how things are ACTUALLY handled?

and you say "So the idea that your beliefs (based on your male-god) should be the measure and example for everyone is a bit presumptious - Don't you think?" If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is. So you think he is presumptious for saying his beliefs should be the measure of example for everyone (which he never said) but yet you are doing the same thing?

Then you use only one quote from the bible to try to prove your stance? really?

and if we as humans live off of only plants, what then are the animals going to eat?

All this being said I also don't stand for ABUSE of any animal, whether it be a socially accepted house pet or a farm animal but I do believe that these animals are here for a reason. I should probably add though that I am of native american decent and that probably does play a role in some of my thoughts. Which sparks yet another question from me, were all the native americans wrong when they ate meat as well? Although they do use a lot of herbs and plants, they do also consume meat and make sure to use every piece possible of the animal. So do you feel native americans are ignorant as a culture? and ALL of our ancestors that ate meats for decades before a vegan diet was even thought of?

-- Posted by AshlyMeyer on Sun, Jul 29, 2012, at 5:03 PM

If there were ever two men who could discern the ethical balance between raising livestock animals as well as possible and making a profit, because of course even people in agriculture must make a living at what they do, it's Greg and Zach Lear. I don't know as much about their careers as I ought to, but I know who they are as individuals.

Much of the agenda of PETA and similar radical organizations has been disproven - from the environmental impact of meat consumption to the widespread use of abusive measures to raise livestock. There are outliers, and we see them in the news -- from mammals and fowl raised in deplorable, unhealthy conditions by stupid and unethical food producers, to a home that has dozens of pet dogs, cats, rodents, etc., that are removed because they have been neglected.

While all living things should be treated with dignity, I find it sad that so much energy is expended on the ethical treatment of animals, while children remain neglected, abused, or simply living in poverty in the U.S. and around the world, and adults are forgotten in group homes, homes for the aged, ill, or mentally disabled, and in extended solitary confinement in prisons. If animal activists would spend even 1/4 of their time defending animals, giving the plight of humans equal time, attention and resources, I might have more regard.

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Mon, Jul 30, 2012, at 12:33 PM

AmyPeterson I do agree!

-- Posted by AshlyMeyer on Tue, Jul 31, 2012, at 7:19 PM

You should all watch the Robert Kenner document Food Inc. I am a meat eater, couldn't imagine not eating it, but what bothers me is the way our meat is raised today.

-- Posted by joev on Wed, Aug 1, 2012, at 12:24 PM

That should be documentary. And to think I previewed my own comment.

-- Posted by joev on Wed, Aug 1, 2012, at 12:25 PM

If for 1 year, each person would be responsible for growing one's own food, I am guessing a few opinions would change at the end of that year. ;)

-- Posted by clayfarmer on Wed, Aug 1, 2012, at 6:04 PM

What would we do with all the animals that are enslaved? let them loose. How long would cows and pigs last in the modern world without us feeding and caring for them? One could argue that evolution made them tasty for our consumption to ensure they dont become extinct. As an example, we only grow certain flowers only for thier visual appeal. Others are weeds.

-- Posted by spencer lover on Thu, Aug 2, 2012, at 11:05 AM

This thread made me hungry. So I ate two cheeseburgers.

-- Posted by FigureOfSpeech on Mon, Aug 6, 2012, at 11:20 AM

studies recently done have shown that over 50% of people who say they are vegans have other dietary/eating disorders.I agree on the statement about raising their own food for a year.I will bet they are not even capable of growing their own veggies,probably buy em at walmart or off someone else.I'd like to see some of these purported animal lovers actually go out to a farm and work there for a while,then ask them if they learned anything.as a farmer, after jumping thru the hoops to produce good,cheap,healty,meat products as well as grain,I'm to the point where I feel the vegans can just starve to death.thanks to the lears and the ag committee who put the ag experience on.at least some kids and adults may learn something besides just tearing down someone elses hard work like the vegans and animal rights groups do.

-- Posted by big12cc on Mon, Aug 6, 2012, at 5:10 PM

big12c, please provide a link to one of these studies you're talking about.

-- Posted by jjleighton on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 7:25 AM

GIllian McKeith and Nigella Lawson


Gillian is a strict vegan, activist, purveyor of all things purified, natural, whole foods, etc.

Nigella is a chef who eats meat, butter and other animal products.

Most of the photos of this I see have Gillian looking far older/worse.

They're both nice looking ladies, especially for 51. And no, I don't want to say their looks are what make them valuable individuals.

But does it not seem that the butter, fat, oil, and protein from animal products could be what has made Nigella look more supple, while a strict diet limitation is what made Gillian age more quickly?

We need people who produce animal based food to know what they're doing.

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Tue, Aug 14, 2012, at 9:26 PM

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