A HISTORY OF THE BEGINNINGS OF THE
INTERNATIONAL LIVESTOCK EXPOSITION 1
The Leading Exponent of a Great Movement for Improvement of the Domestic Animals of the United States
A Bit of Exposition History
The International Exposition
All Uncertainty Removed
James 'Tama Jim' Wilson
Collegiate Livestock Judging Record 1900-2000
Broad-minded liberality in planning, together with daring foresight, enterprise and energy, and patience and thoroughness of executionthese are qualities that met in the creation of this splendid exhibition of a nation's progress towards excellence. As with all great movements, The International Live Stock Exposition was born of a great necessity, and like the first centralized live stock market established at Chicago in 1866, it soon became the inspiration and model for other enterprises of the kind patterned after it, located in widely distributed regions of the country, and extending even to other nations. Its instant, brilliant success also gave renewed life and strength to the live stock departments of all local and state fairs, so that Chicago immediately became headquarters for another great movement, destined to change the character and value of the live stock throughout the Western hemisphere.
Mission of the International
The mission of the International Livestock Stock Exposition, as planned by its projectors, was to gather into one place the best specimens of cattle, sheep, swine and horses that could be found, and thereby present to the agricultural population of the United States a great and valuable educational opportunity, wherein the eye and the mind should be instructed and encouraged to the production of better animals for breeding, marketing and exporting, thus encouraging greater consumption of American animals and meats at home and abroad, and meeting foreign competition and overcoming antagonistic foreign legislation in the only permanently successful way in which they can be met and overcome.
The wide difference in market value between scrub stock and the improved breeds of live stock caused those interested in the development of the industry to cast about for some comprehensive means of forcibly presenting to the farmer and feeder the folly of producing inferior animals, when the same amount of feed and labor expended on the better kinds would bring a greater measure of profit. Moreover, they perceived that in order to successfully meet foreign competition, overcome antagonistic foreign legislation, and provide an adequate outlet for the increased surplus which the growing enterprise and developing resources of American farmers and stock-raisers is bound to produce, excellence in the quality and healthfulness of American animals and meats is the one element of most vital and essential importance.
Our meat animals and meat-food products must become so excellent and desirable that they will be demanded by consumers abroad in preference to the similar products of any and all other nations, and that in the face of this demand foreign legislators will not legislate against them. In no other way can permanent success in these important directions be accomplished.
Its Main Features
The Exposition, therefore, embraces among its main features the following:
- A grand breeders' prize exhibition of pure-bred cattle, horses, sheep, and swine, with daily sales of all breeds.
- A great fat-stock show, surpassing even the renowned annual Smithfield shows of England, in which the royalty and aristocracy of that country take such pride as exhibitors and highly interested visitors.
- A fine display of draft, coach, and saddle horses, and horses for general use, not as a society show, but as a utility show.
- A magnificent prize carload exhibit of fat cattle, sheep, and swine, also a comprehensive feeder and range cattle exhibit, classified by districts.
- A special Agricultural College Exhibit, and an intercollegiate stock-judging contest.
- An annual corn-judging contest, together with an exhibition of feeding appliances, materials and methods, sheep-clipping, etc.
- Slaughter tests to determine the results of different methods of preparing animals for market, and effects of different feeds.
- An exhibition of dressed meats and meat-food products of all kinds, and refrigerator appliances for preserving and transporting the same.
- Animal by-products, showing the complete utilization of all parts of the slaughtered animals not directly used as meat foods.
- An exhibition of packing house methods and appliances, and government inspection of meats.
- Meetings of Breeders' and Stockmen's associations, with able papers and discussions by the foremost representatives of the live stock interests of the world.
- A series of brilliant evening entertainments, and horse fairs, with music, artistic evolutions and intricate drivin and riding contests in the great arena, and a grand pageant composed of the leading prize-winners of the day from both cattle and horse rings.
A Bit of Exposition History
by Melville F. Horine2
During the fall of 1899 the friends of live stock and general agriculture made a careful survey of the conditions of these two great industries throughout the United States, and came to the conclusion that an era of increased and improved live stock production was an absolute necessity in order to prevent a period of scarcity of animals and meats, a consequent decline in our exports, and a further decrease in the fertility of the soil on the farms of the Middle West, upon the preservation of which must necessarily depend the continued success of both stock raising and crop growing.
They perceived that live stock production was not keeping pace with the increase of population in the United States; that the ranges were being rapidly denuded of their grasses by over-grazing, contracted in their area by settlements, and restricted by legislation, both local and national, so that a sure and rapid decrease of supplies must be looked for from all the range country; that among the stock raisers and farmers throughout the Middle West there was a lack of knowledge as to the benefits and profits to be derived from breeding and feeding a better class of stock, and a failure to understand that henceforth the national must depend mainly upon them for its supplies of meat and draft animals, both for domestic use and for export; that the population of the United States was growing rapidly, but the producing area could not expand, and that henceforth intensive use of productive capacity must be relied upon to supply the incrased needs of an increasing population; that the population of Europe also was growing rapidly, and that its sources of supply, especially for meats and draft animals, were not keeping pace in development with the increase of population, and were even declining in several important directions, so that henceforth Europe would be compelled to rely upon the United States more largely than in the past for her supplies of meat and other animal products and for horses; that efforts had been made by various live stock associations and by the live stock and agricultural press to arouse the stockmen and farmers of the country generally to a realization of these facts and the necessity of increasing and improving their holdings of live stock, but that such efforts had been without general leadership, without concrete incentive, and without the practical object lessons which the magnitude and importance of the subject demanded.
Continued1All material taken from Review and Album International Live Stock Exposition, 1913, International Live Stock Exposition, Union Stock Yards, Chicago, pp 5-13. With grateful thanks to Dr. Richard L. Willham, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Animal Science, Iowa State University, who generously and enthusiastically loaned the volume from his collection.International Exposition Continued
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