100th Moffat County Fair participants prepared for animal cruelty protestors | CraigDailyPress.com

100th Moffat County Fair participants prepared for animal cruelty protestors

Nigerian dwarf dairy goats are the €œ"perfect size,"€ said Jaedyn Dilldine, while holding one of the four goats she helped show at the 2017 Moffat County Fair.

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.

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"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.

The 100th Moffat County Fair 2018 Open, 4H, and FFA livestock shows got underway this weekend and will culminate with the 4H and FFA Junior Livestock Sale, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11.

"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.

What to do if approached by an animal activist:

1 — Be prepared: The threat is real. Understand that special interest groups could find animal agriculture to be offensive. Know your product and be prepared for what you will do if approached.

2 — Walk away:  Most hostile special interest groups just want attention and press. They will employ bully tactics to undermine you. Like most bullies, engaging with them will just stoke the fire, but ignoring them can deflate their enthusiasm. Find an adult (parent, leader, fair board member, etc) and do not engage, simply walk away!

3 — Be transparent: If you are forced to respond, be honest. Don’t hide anything, lie or embellish, as this will just hurt your credibility. You will sound more credible if you stick to the facts about your project and why it matters to you.

4 — Take the high road: Remember: observers are everywhere! They are watching you and how you handle your behavior. While the activist groups often engage in false statements, slander, name calling, and anger do not return the sentiment. Providing your customers and the public with a professional response with an “agree to disagree” approach will make the other group appear childish in their tactics and discredit their claims.

5 — Don’t back down: Bending to the group, taking information from them, or agreeing; especially when you have done nothing wrong, will only provide strength for future campaigns.

Source: Moffat County Cattlewomen