Activists target 4-H youth with vandalism at the county fair |

Activists target 4-H youth with vandalism at the county fair

As 4-H youth prepare for the county and state fairs, presenting their livestock before a judge is the culmination of a year’s worth of work. It takes time, dedication, consistency, patience and continually learning to prepare animals for show.

A recent 10-year study conducted by Tufts University evaluated more than 7,000 adolescents of diverse backgrounds across 42 U.S. states. The study looked at youth development organizations, including 4-H, and revealed that 4-H youth are four times more likely to give back to their communities, two times more likely to make healthier choices, two times more likely to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities and two times more likely to be civically active.

According to researchers, “The 4-H Study is a first-of-its-kind longitudinal investigation that continues to yield important information about the bases and implications of personal youth development, information that can help launch young people into healthy and productive lives.

“The findings continue to be used widely by youth program professionals and, to an increasing extent, policy makers. These impacts on application move the 4-H Study toward its chief objective: To provide useful scientific evidence about actions that may be taken to enhance the lives of the diverse young people of America.

I applaud the 4-H parents who invest their time and money into supporting their children and this activity. Without question, this is a great organization to grow young people into productive adults, and I personally look forward to the day when my three children are old enough to participate as my husband and I did growing up!.

Needless to say, the 4-H county fair should be a time for celebration, where families and friends spend time enjoying the fruits of their labor and making memories together.

However, at an Iowa fair in Johnson County, the fun was brought to an abrupt halt when animal rights activists crashed the county fair.

In a recent report from KCRG News, “Johnson County Fair officials said animal rights activists have been disrupting the fair which they said stems from the ‘Family Rodeo’ event.”

Long-time fairgoer Sara Krieger said it’s disturbing what the group has been doing.

“They have been going around and cutting halters and cutting the hairs off the tail of cattle as well as letting the animals out,” Krieger said.

This has caused her to make extra efforts, needing to take her 12 show animals home every single day of the fair for the safety of the animals.

“‘We’ve always felt secure here,” Krieger said. She is confused as to why anyone would want to put the animals, or other people, at risk. Fair officials said they are anticipating protestors.

“If you let them loose, they’re going to run through the fair, they’re going to get caught up in something,” Krieger said. “Run people over; these people love their animals and they are well cared for. I put more time and money into my horses than I do myself. If you want to support an organization that combats animal cruelty, you should join 4-H.”

It is sad and scary to think about animal rights activists targeting 4-H youth and putting their livestock in danger with their shenanigans. These individuals, whether acting on behalf of an organization and working independently, should be held accountable for their actions.

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by this type of activity. Animal rights activists have long used shock value and outlandish behavior to gain media headlines and attention. These folks have little regard for the animals they vow to save. Consider this a friendly warning to be safe and watchful as your family attends the county or state fair this year. Perhaps 4-H clubs should consider hiring a night watchman to work as security during the evening hours at the fair.

It’s a shame it has to come to this, but when it comes to these activists, it seems like common sense, decency and respect of other people’s property are not values they have. ❖

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