Education Center

5-H / ABC

Adding Compassion to 4-H

logoFor generations, 4-H agricultural animal projects have taught children and teens how to raise, love, and care for pigs, cows, goats, and other animals. Tragically, however, the final lesson—the displaying and selling of the animal, destined for slaughter or the auction block—negates these earlier lessons, alienating children from their natural empathy.

As a result, Animal Place is seeking to undo this damage by offering 4-H participants the opportunity to “go 5-H” and really “make the best better.” During the 2002 California State Fair in August, Animal Place volunteers visited the livestock barns with coupons offering lifetime care for a cow, a sheep, a goat, a rabbit, and a chicken at our sanctuary. 4-H kids interested in this real "life-saving" program were asked to take our new 5-H Pledge, which expands the pledge that they took when starting in 4-H:

Children and pig

I Pledge
My Head to clear thinking
My Heart to greater loyalty
My Hands to larger service
My Health to better living
and my conscience to
making Humane choices...
for my community,
my country,
and my world.


pigThe 5-H program offers kids involved in 4-H a unique opportunity to truly reach their full potential as caring human beings, which is essentially the goal of 4-H. The difference is that the kids will have an opportunity to extend this level of care to include the farmed animals they are raising. Those animals whom they have cared for since birth and grown to love will not have to be subjected to the ultimate betrayal of trust by being sold for slaughter. The kids will not have to continue the process of desensitization which makes the betrayal easier each year. They can continue to develop loyalty, trust, compassion, empathy—the very traits that are so critical to a child’s (and an adult’s) character and which are integral to the programs offered by 4-H that do not involve the raising and killing of animals.

You can help us with this vital campaign. If you know a child or teen who is involved with 4-H—or who simply loves animals—let them know they can do the right thing. Encourage them to not raise an animal. Give them a copy of Sausage Patty, which is a wonderful story of love and trust; it makes great reading for kids aged 10 to 14. You can order it through our Web store or printable order form.


Our About Building Compassion (ABC) campaign is geared toward promoting kindness and compassion in our schools

The focus of the campaign is to:

•Sensitize children to the beauty and individuality of farmed animals
•Counter agribusiness's relentless conditioning of young children -which serves to dull their natural feelings of empathy and curiousity about farmed animals
•Offer compassionate alternatives to the traditional 4-H and Future Farmers of America projects.

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