Why aren't sheep bothered by having their testicles ripped out?

What mhendo said. Using your teeth is something of an antiquated display of bravado. California doesn’t have sheep or goat community quite as big as Australia or New Zealand, but most everyone I know uses either elastrator bands or pliers.

That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

I’ve done it to bull calves but never with my teeth. They definitely mind. Our strategy was to brand them first to take some (a lot actually) of the fight out of them before going for the nutsack. Once they’ve been branded, they just kind of lie against the side of the chute, stick their tongues out and bawl.

:eek: Holy shit! Seriously, don’t these animals feel any pain?

They obviously feel pain. The people castrating them just don’t particularly care.

They looked like lambs to me; not quite the same as sheep.

Definitely not as developed. I think my testicles are quite a bit more sensitive now than they were when I was a toddler.

My (own) experience is that the berries are also a little more sensitive to crushing injuries than anything else. Can’t speak for the lambs.

Quick knife cuts are not immediately painful although they may hurt quite a bit later.

Nerves themselves are not sensitive really; it’s the endings that are sensitive. Ripping a nerve out is disgusting but not necessarily painful.

Not saying any of this would be OK on my person, of course.

I suspect the lambs spend a sleepless nite even if they don’t show much immediate pain. Things might get a little more achy later.

The non-castrated sheep I’ve seen all had humongous balls, at least the size of a softball each. How in the world does one grab something that large with one’s teeth?

Like most mammals, testicles get bigger at puberty. A lamb’s testicles are closer to the size of a small Roma tomato.

Are you serious? Are the testicles consumed?

Only after frying in lard.

Hey! Instead of milling around, scratching our heads and otherwise not contributing to adding knowledge, why don’t we ask Hal Briston how he would go about relieving lambs from their ba-a-alls?


Also, i think it’s important not to minimize the psychological attachment that male humans have to their balls. Even if there was no physical pain at all, the sheer horror of seeing your own balls cut off in front of your face would probably have quite an effect.

Sheep are perhaps not quite as aware of this aspect as humans would be.

You haven’t heard of Mountain Oysters? :slight_smile:

Yes. Really.

I was surpised when on an episode of this fellow’s rural cookery programme, a bull was castrated and they ate the poor bastard’s balls straight away :frowning:

Earlier shows included consumption of a human placenta, so after that why not a pair of balls.

Not until I’d seen a eating competition on a US game show :o

Renowned animal behaviorist Temple Grandin has a theory that most animals react to pain differently than humans do. Humans are greatly incapacitated by pain; even a small amount of sharp pain makes it very difficult for a person to behave normally, without wincing and shying away from the source of the pain. Large amounts of pain can be completely debilitating and make normal behavior absolutely impossible. An injury to the testicles, for example, could have even a tough man writhing on the ground.

Fear, by contrast, is far more debilitating to animals (especially prey animals), and far less debilitating to humans. Even in the face of terror, most people can grit their teeth and make some successful attempt to act normally. There is evolutionary pressure on humans to be capable of hiding fear, which is why we can do so. Prey animals are subject to a very strong evolutionary pressure not to show pain or to act in a way that reveals injury, and even animals that we can tell are feeling great pain are not usually incapacitated by it and will avoid reacting visibly to pain in the presence of an animal that could be a predator (like a human). But the same animals are easily incapacitated by fear–look at the tendency of horses or cattle to stampede. Jared Diamond argued in Guns, Germs, and Steel that many animals simply cannot be domesticated because they panic too easily and cannot be kept in any sort of enclosure without panicking. An animal that will shrug off having important organs chopped off without anesthetic will literally worry itself to death if it is kept confined when it smells a predator.

I saw that episode last week and was surprised that the sheep didn’t seem to react to the castration. They bleeted once, but not real vigorously, when their tail was cut off with a pocket knife, but sat there calmly as their scrotum was opened & the testicles yanked out. Almost zero thrashing. Once dropped back into the pen they made very little noise.

As this is GQ, I’d better clear this up.

Posters upthread have confirmed that testicles can, in fact, be consumed. However, in the act of sheep castration as described in earlier posts, I do not believe they are. If you are castrating several sheep in one session, and you did swallow testicles as a part of the ritual, you’d be pretty much satiated after a couple of pairs (3 pairs, tops).

In another context, the term swallow hard has a meaning as used by John McCain when commenting on the US bank bailout, and subsequently reported in the New York Times. McCain said of that situation:

‘This is something that all of us will swallow hard and go forward with.’

That is to say we must steel ourselves before carrying out an unpleasant task e.g. bailing out banks or castrating sheep.

Sorry about any confusion.

Not a single reference to you-know-what.

I’m so proud of you guys.

Very interesting. Following this logic then, I’d be curious for the explanation as to why dogs and cats are such absolute drama queens when they get hurt. I’ve had cats yowling like they’re dying over having their tails stepped on. I can’t even imagine how they’d react if I was going to chop off their testicles without anesthetic!

Do carnivores get away with being big babies over physical pain simply because they can afford to whine?

Waitaminute. Mike Rowe actually grabbed sheep balls with his teeth? I’ve seen him do dirty jobs, but goddamn. That’s dedication.

Just watched the clip online. Holy crap!