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Former Ag Secretary John Block –

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.
And now for today’s commentary—

If you ever questioned whether animal agriculture was under attack, PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) assault on a 14-year-old boy this week should answer that question.

I turned on my television and could hardly believe what I saw. A 14-year-old boy was selected as a student ambassador for a People to People trip to Europe, but knew he couldn’t go unless he raised some money. The family with 6 kids just couldn’t afford it. So, to be creative, the father and the boy decided to raise some money to help.

First, a neighbor gave the boy a calf. They decided to raffle the calf. That would raise real money. The winner of the raffle could either take possession of the calf or be given hundreds of pounds of beef steak and hamburger. That’s when PETA showed up. They fired off an E-mail to the 14-year-old boy, Logan Ward. In part, here is what it said: “It just seems a little strange to me that you feel that someone needs to die for you to go on a school trip. There are other ways to fundraise these days that don’t involve a dead, chopped up corpse.” And then, Whitney Calk, writing for PETA, went on to suggest that in order to raise money that Logan should host a veggie dog sale hosted by PETA’s bikini-clad Lettuce Ladies, with a link to their website. It was pure inappropriate porn. Without any question, PETA’s attack on this boy was way out of line.

Think about all the 4-H boys and girls that raise calves and baby pigs – feed them and care for them but then send them to market. That’s what I did. That’s what my kids did. Animal agriculture is a business. We are feeding billions of people. I have friends that are vegetarians. That’s fine. Individuals can make a choice. I happen to like a steak and pork chops. That’s my position, and we don’t need a bunch of self-righteous extremists trying to make us conform to their preference.

PETA’s crusade is not ethical treatment of animals. It is simply – don’t eat meat.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.