On March 23, a session was presented by Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) at the National 4-H Conference. The session was titled, "Animal Instincts: Service Learning and Animal Welfare."

It was one of many sessions during the five-day conference, and participants had a choice of which sessions they´d attend. Of the 10 Kansas representatives at the conference, one chose to attend this session.

Some of the materials provided by HSUS met the conference´s workshops criteria of teaching civic engagement, community service, youth volunteerism and impacting community issues. However, much of the material was more focused on the HSUS goals.

K-State Research and Extension and the Kansas 4-H Youth Development Program does not agree with the values supported by HSUS, particularly as related to animal agriculture.

Kansas 4-H values the development of citizenship, leadership and critical thinking skills. These critical thinking skills serve Kansas youth well when faced with potentially confrontational issues or alternative points of view.

Through 4-H, many young people explore their passions for working with animals. These animal projects provide a platform for young people to learn responsibility, ethics, record keeping, sportsmanship and proper care of animals.

It is important to know that HSUS´ name is confusingly similar to that of local or county organizations. The local organizations, such as local humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and shelters, are independent of HSUS.

The National 4-H Conference is a working conference in which youth and adults, at the invitation of the Secretary of Agriculture, assist in the development of recommendations to help guide 4-H Youth Development Programs nationally and in their communities. This event brings together youth, volunteer leaders, and state and county Extension staff members from across the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the Canadian Provinces.