100th Moffat County Fair participants prepared for animal cruelty protestors
CRAIG — Wild animal acts and prize livestock sales at county fairs have recently attracted the attention of animal rights activists, and Moffat County Cattlewomen have been educating 4H and FFA youth on how to respond if approached by an activist.
In July, the Daily Sentinel reported that Mesa County Fair Board denied a request by PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — to cancel a performance featuring live grizzly bears. The animal rights group cited safety and animal welfare concerns after a 2017 incident, when a performing bear injured a trainer at the Saratoga County Fair in New York.
The grizzly bear show went forward in Mesa County without further action from PETA. However, the incident caused Colorado Cattlewomen Association Industry Issues Chairperson Jo Stanko to send an alert to association members, including local affiliates — the Moffat County Cattlewoman — warning of potential protests and offering advice on how to address them. Stanko also appeared on KVRN 880 Rural Radio to voice her concerns.
Soon after, Moffat County Cattlewomen President Kacey Green shared the warning with parents of youth members of 4H and FFA who were preparing to compete in the 100th Moffat County Fair.
“Parents: please talk to your kids about this, as it is a real threat to 4-H, FFA, and animal agriculture,” she wrote in her notice.
In an interview, Green also expressed her concerns about at least one anti-4H/FFA video circulating online.
“My thoughts are that the video is riddled with inaccuracies. I would stress to people when they see a video like that to fact check and talk to leaders and kids involved in those programs and actually know what happens in these programs,” Green said.
She added that, as a former participant, a parent of children in the programs, and a leader, “I think that 4H and FFA are some of the best youth organizations. … They get leadership, financial management, animal husbandry skills — I could go on about what they get from these programs.”
PETA is currently protesting the Tillamook County Fair in Oregon’s Pig N’Ford races, which PETA claim forces “terrified pigs to ride with humans racing Ford Model Ts.”
The organization says it is not, however, planning to hold actions at county fairs in Colorado.
“PETA doesn’t have any demonstrations planned against 4-H or FFA events at county fairs in Colorado at this time,” said Catie Cryar, PETA senior media liaison, in an email received by the Craig Press on Monday, Aug. 6.
“People involved in agriculture are always open to having open, honest and civil discussions of what we do,” Green said. “We are here to educate the public about our products.”
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
After two days of competition at the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association State Finals, riders and ropers from Moffat and Routt counties are making their way into the home stretch.