Clyde is a total character. He follows humans around and likes to get treats from them. He’s a unique individual, and like all animals, he wants to live. But before he was rescued, a National Future Farmers of America (FFA) member was raising him—and would’ve eventually sent him to auction once the project was over and Clyde reached a certain age. Animals at auction are typically sold for slaughter or to be used as “breeders” (and likely sent to slaughter later, once they’re no longer profitable).
In case you haven’t heard, the FFA encourages members to raise animals for Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE). During these projects, members learn how to care for animals—but they’re doing so with the goals of bringing in a high profit and winning a competition. Instead of teaching students that animals are individuals who have unique personalities, needs, and feelings, the FFA teaches them to view fellow animals as a way to make money.
But thankfully for Clyde, the FFA student who was raising him (and the student’s mother) had a change of heart and fought to get him out of the auction. They were able to see Clyde for the person that he is, and instead of going to a slaughterhouse or being confined to a concrete pen, he ended up at a sanctuary! Most animals raised for FFA projects aren’t so lucky.
Near the end of the SAE, FFA members typically take their new friend to a county or state fair to compete against other animals. The goal of the competition is to see which animal is worth the most money—and therefore deemed the “winner”—based on his or her flesh, fur, milk, or ability to breed the largest animals. But FYI, animals don’t produce their flesh, fur, milk, or babies for humans. After the fair, most animals are taken to auctions. This is where they’re betrayed by their “friends” and sold to the highest bidders, who usually take them to be slaughtered so that their body parts can be sold.
In addition to encouraging the exploitation of nonhuman animals, the FFA has a long history of discriminating against humans. African-American students weren’t allowed to join the organization until 1965, and females were barred from becoming members until 1969. But more than ever, humans are recognizing the similarities between themselves and the animals we use—who, like any other people, value their relationships and want to live full, meaningful lives.
Because compassionate, brave people spoke up and did the right thing Clyde will get to spend the rest of his life surrounded by real friends, playing in the grass at a sanctuary sanctuary—and he’ll never have to worry about being sold or slaughtered. Animal rights activist Zoe Rosenberg, who founded her sanctuary when she was just 11 years old, took Clyde in. Zoe’s a total hero for animals, she has given a TEDx Talk and has traveled the country giving speeches in hopes to inspire activism for animal liberation.
What You Can Do
If you’re a member of the FFA or 4-H who’s raising an animal for a project, don’t let your friend be killed! Stand up and say something—lives depends on it.
There are tons of stories of teens in the FFA or 4-H who took a stand and did the compassionate thing. There are even programs in place specifically for kids who want to get their beloved animal friends out of these groups. Be on the right side of history by going vegan, and speaking up for all animals!