Panda The Burned Steer
Burned and Left to Die, Panda Still Faced Slaughter
In November 2013, a 23-yr-old man broke into a high school housing animals being raised as part of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. He allegedly set a 5-mos-old calf on fire, causing severe burns over more than 50% of the calf’s body. One ear was burned off, the other damaged. He was left with life-long scars that even now, ten months later, are still healing.
Worse, Panda still faced slaughter! The teenage student raising him for FFA still planned on showing the scarred calf at the California Mid State Fair, even despite offers of sanctuary from Animal Place. After tense negotiations, a donor facilitated the release of Panda to our sanctuary. Our staff immediately drove down to Paso Robles to pick up Panda.
While picking Panda up, the student walked Panda on a lead straight to our trailer. Panda trusted the teenager implicitly, not knowing that had he been at the fair, the trailer picking him up would have taken him straight to a slaughterhouse. What a betrayal!
Despite all he has been through, Panda trusts humans.
Panda is an ambassador for the thousands of animals who are raised as part of the animal programs of FFA and 4H. They all want to live. They are doted upon by caring students who name them, nurture them…and then betray them. We should be embracing and encouraging experiences of empathy and compassion, not squelching it by teaching impressionable children that it’s okay to love someone fiercely, protect them, care for them…and then kill them!
What can you do?
- Oppose animal-based FFA and 4H programs. Encourage the non-animal programs both these organizations have to offer.
- Talk to kids raising animals for FFA and 4H and encourage critical thinking – suggest they visit a sanctuary for an alternative viewpoint.
- The vast majority of animals raised for FFA and 4H will be slaughtered and their flesh sold commercially. Start seeing nonhumans as unique individuals and start choosing veganism.