Monday, August 29, 2011

Calf Club

We'd like to tell you all about this, but after reading up on it, we're still feeling a little dizzy. From the Calf Club's website:
Originally the day was known as Calf Club even though children exhibited animals like lambs and goats, but with fewer children now having access to 'farm animals' the day has become known, in some areas, as Pet, Livestock or Agriculture Day, with events for all classes of animals, pets and handcrafts.

LIC strongly supports New Zealand's dairy, beef, deer and sheep industries and recognises that there are young farmers who work hard each year to select, prepare and show young animals at these school events.

This website provides information and guidelines to help you and your child select, train and show a pet - and most importantly, ensure everyone enjoys the experience.
Okay! Did you spot it?

It's the seamless, oh-so-natural conflation of the categories pet and livestock.

Let's be fair: The organizers of this event explicitly encourage young people to take good care of their animals, to treat them kindly, to make sure they have proper food and clean bedding. It's clear they believe—and the kids feel it too—that the up-and-coming "farmers" form a strong bond with their (ahem) pets, a connection born of duty and affection. We would assume that many "farmers" find this a commonplace.

But to us, that adoring calf—with its serene smile and worshipful gaze—knows more than it lets on. For, whether destined for milking or "rearing" (that is, being raised for meat), it will not long be anyone's companion. Are we wrong to detect a trusting nature in the calf? Not a trust that it will always be—and have—a friend, but a bedrock faith in the entire administration that will see to its eventual disposition. From friend to food, the calf is in their hands. Where it belongs.


Patito said...

"Dairy, beef, deer and sheep"...
Why not "dairy, beef, venison, mutton, and wool"?

Red said...

Just like the 4-H Club in the U.S., actually.