What a poignant and sad story you printed about the 4-H children having to give up their beloved animals they had cared for almost a year ("Emotions high at Howard County Fair livestock sale"). In my opinion, the lesson this practice teaches kids is not one of practicality; that these animals are grown for eating. These kids are learning to dispose of creatures they love and stuff their feelings about them. I only hope the children retain enough independent thinking so they can eventually make their own choices about compassion and our treatment of other living creatures on the planet.
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