Editorials, Opinion

What we learned from the livestock auction

This year, in spite of — or perhaps because of — COVID-19, the Monongalia County Youth Livestock Show and Auction took center stage, and we’re glad the youngsters participating had the chance to show off their hard work.

Future Farmers of America and 4-H-ers raised animals of their choice for a year, then the animals were sold at auction last weekend.

Many an animal-lover may shudder at the thought of raising a lamb or goat or cow or chicken from birth just to send it off to the slaughter, but as the FFA and 4-H participants shared in our three-part series last week, the whole experience is beneficial for humans and animals alike.

The young farmers are learning the expected things: How to feed, groom and otherwise care for another living being. But they are also getting lessons in patience and punctuality, in responsibility and work ethic, in problem solving and perseverance, in life cycles and humane treatment. The buyers know they are purchasing quality goods, humanely raised and without the questionable substances found in large-scale factory farming.

And the animals get a good life, short as it may seem to humans. There has been a lot of pushback in recent years against the aforementioned factory farming. Videos of cattle and hogs packed nose-to-tail into pens and of chickens so overgrown from steroids they can’t hold themselves up have driven many consumers toward organic, grass-fed, free-range and/or locally sourced animal products.

Hopefully, as Kody Fowler discussed, the livestock show and auction was able to draw greater attention to food security and the important role small farms play, and hopefully, a new generation will be inspired to take a closer look at agriculture and all the possibilities and lessons it holds.