A cattle prod is a stick that people use to make their domestic animals move. Sometimes, this portable device is also known as a hot stick or stock prod. It has electrodes on the ends to provide a low-level electric shock.
Even though cattle prods have been on the market for a long time, people still have several questions in their minds about them.
Does cattle prod hurt? Can we use it on dogs and humans? There are numerous such concerns. In this post, we will give answers to some of your questions about cattle prods. However, before that, let us have a quick look at their history.
Quick History of Cattle Prod
Although people have been using cattle prod variants since the early twenty century, cattle prod was officially invented in 1930. Robert J. Kleberg was the key person behind the invention of it.
Does Cattle Prod Hurt?
Yes, a cattle prod hurts. This handheld device imposes a painful shock (of a certain degree) on cattle. In short, it prods animals by giving them painful stimulation.
The stick generates an electric current at its end with the help of dual metal electrodes. When the end of a cattle prod touches the skin of an animal, it delivers a high voltage yet low current shock.
While the current shock is not powerful enough to kill large animals such as cows and lambs, it can cause severe agony.
Though a cattle prod is an effective device in making stubborn animals move, it should not be your primary tool. Use them as minimum as possible.
The use of stock prod while getting the cattle in the squeeze chute is acceptable to some extent. However, in normal circumstances, you can use plastic sticks or paddles instead of a cattle prod.
If you notice your cattle are refusing to move or balking, try to find out the reasons behind this behavior. According to research, there could be various factors responsible for this action. Some primary issues are distraction, lack of training, atmosphere, and so on.
How Much Voltage Should I Use on Animals? Do They Feel Pain?
As we discussed above, excessive use of stock prod can cause immense stress and suffering to cattle. However, the amount of pain caused by cattle prod is determined by its voltage.
If we talk about cattle prod voltage, it can deliver a shock of between fifteen hundred volts to ten thousand volts, depending on the type of cattle prod you buy.
Cattle prods are similar to stun guns as both disperse electricity by delivering it across two electrodes. However, cattle prod does not supply a strong current like a stun gun. A regular shotgun can supply up to 1 million volts and fend off any invader.
So the main question is, how much voltage should I use on cattle?
Although stock prod gives localized shock only, you should use it within a limit. Nowadays, cattle prods come with selector switches that let you turn high and low voltage. So if you have to handle a small animal, you can use a low volt current. To prevent over-shocking, you can push the power button and then release it quickly.
Also, you should avoid using a stick prod on wet animals. It might amplify the intensity of the shock to some extent.
Use them only when your safety is at risk. The Canadian Cattlemen Association has the following recommendations for the use of a cattle prod.
- Avoid using a cattle prod on the genitals, anal areas, face, and udder
- Do not use a hot stick on the same animal for a prolonged period.
- Use cattle prod only when all human efforts have failed.
According to Dr. Temple Gradin, a US-based animal behaviorist, people should avoid using cattle prods on breeding stock as it might weaken the immune system of cattle.
Can I Use Cattle Prod on Dogs?
A lot of people have this question in their mind if they can use cattle prods on dogs. Some people even use it to break up a dog fight. Other people utilize it to maintain a safe deterrent from dogs.
We do not recommend you to use cattle prods on dogs in any situation. If you are a dog owner struggling to handle aggressive behavior, seek the help of a dog trainer.
Besides this, if you want to break up a dog fight, you can try other alternatives. For example, you can divert the attention of dogs by making a loud noise or using water.
It is worth mentioning that using cattle prods on dogs is illegal in various states across the world. In Edmonton, Canada, a man was imprisoned for using a cattle prod on two dogs. Furthermore, the dog is a small animal, and using a cattle prod on it is unethical.
Can I Use a Cattle Prod on a Human Being?
Electroshock devices such as cattle prods and stun guns have been used and sold in the United States for more than a decade.
Some people use cattle prods as self-defense. Even police and troopers use cattle prods to shock criminals.
While buying a stun gun is illegal in several counties of the United States, people purchase them via web and trade shows.
Cattle prods, unlike stun guns, do not use high voltage. Furthermore, they do not transfer an electrical charge throughout the body. They provide shock at the site of contact only.
So we can say cattle prods can be used on humans under certain circumstances. You can use it as self-defense in rare cases. Security forces, prison officers, and police use them sometimes.
However, before you use it, you must know its possible consequences on the human body. Do not forget that our body is an excellent conductor of electricity. Therefore, it lets current pass through it. An electric shock occurs when a current passes through a human body.
Impact of Electric Shock on Human Body
Depending on the intensity of the current, electric shock can cause muscle spasms. If the current strength is more than ten mA and hits the extensor muscle, it might cause an aggressive muscle spasm.
In some cases, excessive current can even tear tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Remember that 100 milliamperes of electricity are enough to kill a human.
Electric shock and Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest may occur if a current of 50 milliamperes passes through the heart. Electric impulses control our heartbeat. An ECG machine is used to monitor these impulses.
When a current flows through the heart, it hides impulses and disrupts the heart’s rhythm. This erratic pulse may cause the heart to cease pumping blood. If the regular heartbeat is not restored with the assistance of a defibrillator quickly, the condition might be fatal.
Electric Shock Effect on the Nervous System
When the nervous system comes into contact with sudden electric shock, it might result in discomfort, numbness, and weakness. Moreover, it might cause difficulty in moving a limb. Electric shock can also have an effect on the central nervous system in some situations.
Electric Shock and Skin Burn
When a current of a hundred mA runs through the human body, it leaves markings on the skin where it comes into contact. These markings look like a burn. A current of more than ten thousand milliamperes (mA) can cause severe burns.
What makes a cattle prod safe to use in most cases, it does not produce more than 5mA/s. Though a cattle prod has high voltage and transmits adequate current, it is not lethal. However, it is painful for sure.
Taking everything into account, we can conclude that cow prods indeed cause pain. However, their use is okay while loading animals into the squeeze chute. Nevertheless, you should avoid overusing them. Do not use them on small animals like dogs. It is advisable to read all of the directions for usage.