Campaign of Practical Education
They further perceived that, in order to awaken the necessary interest in the subject, and to create the necessary appreciation of form and excellence in the quality of animals to be raised, on the part of farmers and stockmen of practical education would be necessary, with some vast object lesson to attract and hold the attention of the rank and file of producers until they should become acquainted with the realities of the situation and should together learn to distinguish, acquire and maintain that excellence of animal quality wherein exists their true interests as individual producers. In other words, farmers must be taught the difference in profit between a "scrub" and an animal that is thrifty and well-bred, on the one hand, and, on the other, between old and wasteful methods of feeding and new and improved methods of maturing and preparing animals for market, so that the markets may be supplied with what they demand, for both domestic consumption and export.
The International Exposition
The outcome of these consideratioins was the projection of the International Live Stock Exposition, at the Chicago Union Stock Yards, as a broad educational factor for all the people.
With these purposes in view, a meeting of prominent representatives of the National pure-bred live stock record associations, the agricultural colleges, and the agricultural press, together with the railroad and live stock market interests of Chicago, was held at the hall of the Chicago Live Stock Exchange, Nov. 24, 1899, for the purpose of discussing the subject and forming some definite plan of action which should arouse a broad general interest and work a broad general improvement in the live stock and agricultural conditions of the whole country. The outcome of this meeting was the organization of the International Live Stock Exposition Association, chartered by the State of Illinois, with its general office in Chicago, and authorized to hold annually at the Union Stock Yards of Chicago exhibitions of live stock and displays of kindred interest.
The first officers of the International Live Stock Exposition were:President, J. A. Spoor, Chicago, IL
First Vice-President, De Witt Smith, Springfield, IL
Second Vice-President, Alvin H. Sanders, Chicago, IL
General Manager, W. E. Skinner, Chicago, IL
Treasurer, R. Z. Herrick, Chicago, IL
Secretary, Mortimer Levering, Lafayette IN
The Union Stock Yard and Transit Company of Chicago offered a magnificent site and buildings, and undertook to finance the show, not as a money-making scheme nor as an advertisement of any one interest, but for the purpose of benefiting the entire live stock and agricultural interests of the country, and was willing to accept for reward its share in the general increase of prosperity to the industry resulting from the movement.
The First Exposition, 1900
December 1, 1900, the management threw open to the public the gates of the first International Live Stock Exposition. To say that it was a magnificent success, far exceeding the wildest hopes of its projectors, is to state it mildly. Over six thousand of the finest animals in the United States were on exhibition, entered in competition for 2,23o premiums, aggregating $75,000, offered in upward of 600 classes of cattle, horses, sheep, and swine, not to mention the packing-house and other interesting exhibits, all of which were viewed by fully 300,000 visitors from nearly every state in the Union and foreign countries. No such object lesson in everything which pertains to excellence in the breeding, feeding, marketing, manufacturing, and distributing of animals and animal products was ever before placed before producers in this or any other country. Its success awakened much interest, both at home and abroad.
Commenting on the first International,
The Breeders' Gazette, recognized as the authority on live stock, editorially said:Stupendous beyond detail. Magnificent beyond description. This is the essence of the Chicago show.
As one stands bewildered at the feats of the magician, so the creators of this exhibition gazed in amazement upon their own handiwork. Conjured up from the resources of a continent, the International Live Stock Exposition sprang full-rounded into an astonishing exhstence. All calculations were exceeded, all expectancy was surpassed. Even those of greatest faith had failed to forsee the magnitude to which this exhibition attained. In preparations for this show, effort and opportunity finally met. The resultant spectacle awakened the wonder of visitors from the world.
The Union Stock Yard and Transit Company was the medium through which the foremost breeders and feeders of the continent found expression of their growing interest in the industry of their choice. Credit unqualified belongs to the great corporation. Without its aid this grand message to the world would have been unspoken. But for its backing this crowning glory of the nineteenth century history fo the trade would never have been witnessed. This Company provided the home and furnished the needed funds. With this foundation, and under the management of the company officials, breeders and feeders contributed liberally of their time and money, individually and through their organized bodies, and made this mposing, this snspiring spectacle. These two forces, impotent each without the co-operation of the other, combined to produce an event which in its widely-ramified and permanent influence for good exceeds anything heretofore chronicled in the history of the trade. Never before has a single institution contributed so generously toward the advancement of an industry.
All Uncertainty Removed
The wonderful success of the first exposition removed all uncertainty as to whether the interest in pure-bred stock was confined only to a few wealthy fanciers who held their herds for show purposes, or whether it was a lively, vital, everyday question among all breeders and raisers of stock. The interest awakened may be likened to the instant appreciation by a mechanic of a piece of labor-saving machinery and the keen desire for its possession. The small farmer with his dozen animals, the large feeder with his several hundred head and the range-man with his thousands came and saw and were convined that there were living machines which would produce more and better meats on the same amount of feed than would the heterogeneous animals they had been raising, which they were compelled to sell at a heavy discount in price. the conviction ripened into desire, with the result that the cause of pure-bred stock, which had been creeping slowly in the past, has been given an impetus which is revolutionizing the character of the live stock of these United States.
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