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Sheep cartoon was an affront, agriculturalists aren’t to blame

By Charmayne Hefley
Ag Communications Major

We live in a very twisted society. It has become so far removed from the food that it eats that anytime something goes wrong and animals are hurt, we blame the agriculturalist.

When animals are well taken care of, there is no media there to report on how well-off those animals are. So the agriculturalist goes unnoticed.

Agriculture is only mentioned when things go wrong, but it is never built up when things go right.

Negative news always trumps positive news, but sometimes the public cries out saying that negative news is not news at all.

The comments on the news surrounding the student who sexually assaulted a sheep at Fresno State have caused a stir in the agriculture department.

A cartoon in The Collegian painted a picture of agriculture in a very negative manner.

After all, apparently it was the agriculturalist who was responsible when a computer science engineering major thought it was perfectly acceptable to have his way with an animal.

According to the cartoon captioned, “Fresno State’s a good ag school, they said. It will be fun, they said,” it is the agriculturalist who is at fault for allowing this to happen.

The image of a sheep looks into the viewer’s eyes, begging for help.

In times like these, when misconceptions spread and the news becomes so viral that students’ relatives and friends are calling from New York, Florida and other states far away from this tragedy, the agriculturalists are being punished.

We are the ones taking the brunt of the pain. We are the ones getting thrown under the bus and crushed with a hundred pounds of lies and stories about how we messed up. We did not molest the sheep.

However, that does not seem to matter.

When your own school newspaper puts the agriculturalist at fault with a few strokes of the pen, it makes a person wonder of the ethics of a society that would gladly destroy the foundations that was built upon.

Agriculturalists break their backs day in and day out. They grow and raise the food that makes it to your table.

You can be a vegan, a vegetarian, a non-GMO consumer, a purely organic consumer, grass-fed, non-dairy, an any-way-you-like-to-eat kind of person, but your food still touched the hands of the agriculturalist.

You can call agriculturalists evil for their views. You can spit in their eye and smash them to the ground when the smallest negative news story arises.

However, you cannot combat the fact that every meal you consume was touched by the agriculturalist.

The agriculturalist is perhaps one of the hardest-working individuals left in this country. The agriculturalist still wakes up before dawn to toil in the fields each and every day.

Perhaps the agriculturalist may no longer have need to use the same worn-down methods as our ancestors as technology has progressed.

However, agriculturalists still spend their days checking the livestock, fixing the fences, watering the soil, making sure the plants are free of pests and so much more.

The agriculturalist is a scientist, a mechanic, a speaker, a farmer and a teacher. The agriculturalist wears many hats, yet still continues to keep the tradition alive of feeding the society that we live in.

Without the agriculturalist, our society would crumble. Without the generosity and kindness of agriculturalists, our lands would remain fallow and our stomachs empty.

The agriculturalist continues to plow the fields and pray for rain regardless of the public’s opinion. Negativity does not get the agriculturalist down for too long, for there is work to do, hungry mouths to feed.

Without the agriculturalist, food would not grow. Without the agriculturalist, domesticated animals would not live. Without the agriculturalist, so much of our world would change.

This is the most important realization people can have. Especially now.

Especially when our college’s newspaper allows the hard work of the agriculturalist to go unnoticed, and the simple act of a twisted member of this society to affect the perceived view of the agriculturalist.

We cannot stand for this.

The agriculturalist does not deserve this backlash. The agriculturalist does not abuse animals.

The agriculturalist has the dignity and understanding to treat animals with respect.

And yet the agriculturalist is demonized around every twist and turn when something goes wrong.

And when something goes right, the agriculturalist goes unnoticed.

Click here for the cartoon this letter refers to.

  • Dan Waterhouse

    First of all, quit with the outrage and chill out.

    The story didn’t go viral because of the cartoon. It went viral because of its weirdness. Probably it didn’t help that Fresno State is better known in media circles for samurai swords, rice bowls, academic fraud in the athletic department and multi-million dollar Title IX lawsuits. Add to the mix a reported on-campus sexual assault earlier in the week (which proved to be unfounded).

    Bulldog sport boosters were posting comments on blogs: “Fresno State: where men are men, and where the sheep run scared”. People see humor in some of the grossest things imaginable – just ask anyone who’s worked in police, fire or EMS.

    Tasteless? Yeah.