Steers take centre stage before the final curtain
Josh Manwaring,14, of Harden at the Royal Canberra show with his two steers that will be shown and then slaughtered tomorrow. Photo: Melissa Adams
Foggy and Pete were on borrowed time on Wednesday night.
The pair of angus-murray grey cross steers had spent much of their lives being pampered at Murrumburrah High School, north-west of Canberra, but on Thursday they were due to go to slaughter as part of the Royal Canberra Show's Hoof and Hook competition.
About 15 schools have entered the competition, where students raise and break in cattle to be shown and judged live in the ring, and then again as carcass after slaughter.
Murrumburrah High School agriculture teacher Jan Young brought a group of students to Canberra as part of their extracurricular show team.
This is her 12th year supervising students involved in the Hoof and Hook program, and she said they rarely had much trouble parting with their animals.
''I'm lucky as a teacher that my kids are from a rural background, so they know where their steak comes from. They don't think it comes from Woolworths with Glad Wrap over the top of it, so they know with steers that's their function in life,'' she said.
But she said some students did take their steer's ear tags home as a memento of their time together.
Toby Haydon, a 16-year-old year 11 student, lives in town but has a passion for farming.
He bought one of the steers from fellow student Josh Manwaring's grandfather, a farmer, in exchange for two weeks of work lopping the tails off lambs and marking them.
He kept the animal in the school's paddocks.
Toby said he was hoping to make some money when the steers were auctioned on Thursday.
''I love animals and I love working on the land, I couldn't see myself sitting behind a computer,'' he said.
At the school, students take agriculture as an elective in years seven and eight, and can then choose to carry on the subject all the way to year 12, covering the academic side of farming as well as fencing, driving tractors and using chemicals.
Murrumburrah students take animals to six shows in spring, and five in autumn, including at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Ms Young said the show team included students at all levels of the school, creating an environment akin to an extended family.
The ACTEW/AGL Royal Canberra Show starts on Friday.