Chi Chi & Alana
In the words of Lillie, here is what she says about what FFA means to her:
“Future Farmers of America” teaches children where their food comes from and all about their farming roots – some kids don’t know corn is grown in a pasture they think it comes out of the can. They learn about agricultural marketing from showing animals to getting animals ready for market and then to selling them to judging them – to learning different crops, farming techniques, etc. The kids also learn how to weld, work on machinery and construct buildings for “livestock”.
I then asked Lillie why they chose turkeys instead of other animals to raise and she said that turkeys are a short-term project (4 months), and that they require a lot less land. 4 MONTHS OLD?!
I got to thinking about that and realized that the turkeys are processed and eaten at 4 months old—they are just babies. If I would have known that I was eating a 4 month old baby all those years I ate turkeys, I don’t think I could have ever done it.
Finally, I asked her if any of her kids ever got emotional before they were sent to be slaughtered. She hesitated for a minute and then said—“they are taught that when you show a market animal they know it is meant for market”.
That concept of “food animals” is deeply ingrained in our culture. If we ever really thought about these animals as anything but food we couldn’t eat them – it would be like eating our dogs and cats or any pet that we loved and had feelings for. The “food animals” are not to be considered with feelings and emotions – they are raised for one reason only – to be processed and eaten.