cow fisting, fistulating, whatever

Cow Port:
"There is a lot of things we can do with fistulated steers," said Jim Russell, professor of animal science. "They are a nice thing to have around for tours with kids."

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38 Responses:

  1. slojae says:

    one of the oddest things i think i've ever seen, and not anything i find myself wanting to do. given the choice between jumping out of a plane and putting my hand inside of a living cow like that... wheres the parachute?

  2. ponderingsloth says:

    I give it a week before we see supermodels having this procedure done.

  3. ooshiny says:

    heeeeyyy, how come you're always picking on iowa?

    • wasteddream says:

      Because it sucks, and people there do weird things.

      • ooshiny says:

        yeah, i guess we do... like visiting other states and letting others find out just how crazy it is here.

        • wasteddream says:

          I spent 22 years there, and used to get all touchy when people made fun of it. But now i see that the rest of the world was right all along.

          • ooshiny says:

            heh. i'm about to begin my 25th year here. i find it very difficult to function in other places for any extended period of time, just because i've been so indoctrinated in iowa weirdness. i'm sure we'll get out of here someday.

            • bigbrother2084 says:

              All I can say is don't try KKKansas. Sucks worse here... I actually had a pretty good time in Iowa City...
              Probably because I stumbled across Gabe's and met the riff-raff.

  4. pragma says:

    Wow! Can you do that to everyanimal?

    "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read - UNTIL NOW!"

    • phoenixredux says:

      No, you cannot do that to every animal. That's a procedure reserved only for ruminants, like cows, who have multiple-chamber stomachs for processing grasses. So you could only do it with cows, buffalo, and (I think) oxen. Don't try doing that to your dog, cat, horse, sheep, etc.

      Actually, I had my arm in a fistulated cow just a couple of weeks ago at the University of Minnesota's Vet School, where my g/f <lj user="Redherring"> is studying. It's pretty neat, and a good learning tool.

  5. kyzoku says:

    See, cow-mods are the trend of the future. Next thing you know there'll be whole sites devoted to installing cow-windows, cold cathode tubes, and etching designs into their hide.

    • jwz says:

      And what is Bovine Growth Hormone if not overclocking?

    • jkonrath says:

      Well, they've done the whole hide-eching thing for hundreds of years, but they use a hot iron instead of a dremel tool. But maybe they will come out with new cow branding irons that have designs like a DNA strand, a biohazard symbol, a pot leaf, or whatever other design the kids are into these days. And don't forget the UV paint for the udders.

      -Jon

    • sparklewench says:

      They do have cows with windows. They have a fistulated cow at UC Davis too. I think that same cow has a window.

    • 33mhz says:

      The Holstein patterns on Gateway boxes seems so oddly prescient now.

  6. lovingboth says:

    BBC TV used to feature cow fisting every Saturday evening, peak time.

    All Creatures Great and Small was its official title, but...

  7. zhixel says:

    This brings back great memories of being nine years old on the dairy farm and watching the farm vet cutting open a cow, pulling out some of its contents and sewing it back up.

  8. georgedorn says:

    Ah, man. Word of this gets around in the trendoid piercing communities and two years from now you'll be seeing sorority girls with navel fistulas instead of navel piercings...

  9. space_paranoids says:

    For some reason, I really want to see someone do this to a panda.

  10. four says:

    how is this humane?

  11. eaterofhands says:

    Now see, if I was on your friendsoffriends list you would have seen this already. I wonder if my state fair will be cool enough to have cow fisting.

  12. retrodiva1 says:

    I am throughly grossed out. All kinds of emotions going on right now. This is sort of one of those things that makes you wonder where science *should* stop?

    How on earth did they manage this and why? It reminds me of when they started putting sea cucumbers into the tide pool's at aquariums, where you could pick them up. People didn't stop to think that just cause you can do something that maybe you shouldn't. The poor cucumbers would freak when people would pick them up and spit out all their internal organs. They can regrow them but if it happens daily eventually they die.

    Eventually someone's going to grab something they shouldn't and bye bye poor cow.

    • nothings says:

      >How on earth did they manage this and why?

      My first question is: What ever made this idea even come across their minds?

      I mean, "why", well, "if we put a hole in a cow we can let students learn about the innards and scientists acquire samples and etc."

      But my question is, "How do you ever even think of the idea of PUTTING A INNARDS-REVEALING-HOLE IN A LIVING COW?!?"

      • jwz says:

        I can't figure out when this was first done, but apparently it doesn't hurt the cow, and they get useful information from it. It seems that they periodically check the level of digestion and pH and so on to figure out what they need to tweak about what they're feeding the herd.

        This page says: "The digestibility tests that Johnston performs take the guesswork out of feeding. If, for example, a particular harvest of corn is not very digestible, because of the weather or any other variable, the cow that is eating it may begin to produce less milk. Without the digestibility figures, says Johnston, you wouldn't know why your cow was producing less milk and would likely respond by feeding the cow more corn to try to get her production levels back up. That would be exactly the wrong thing to do. Instead, the data produced by the digestibility tests might indicate that more beet pulp or barley should be fed."

        I saw another page that said that fistulated cows live twice as long as "normal" cows, presumably because they get so much more hands-on tweaking.

        • nothings says:

          The twice-as-long factoid is pretty cool. But like I said, the "why" of it seems plausible; it's the coming-up-with-the-idea-in-the-first-place I can't imagine. It's like cow-tipping wasn't good enough for them. "Better yet, let's put a hole in the cow!"

          • 33mhz says:

            Hmm. Maybe it was stumbled upon during a cow-tipping gone awry.

            "Oh shit, I totally didn't see that coffee can there. Sorry Bessy."

        • kiskadee says:

          I had a summer programming job once at the USDA nutrient data lab up in Maryland, and at the end of the summer they took all the interns around on a field trip to see the whole facility (it's pretty large). And wouldn't you know, one of the buildings we passed through had cows with these fistula things in their sides. The guides taking us around didn't say a word about them, acting as if the cows weren't even there, so you can imagine we found it more than a little strange.

      • retrodiva1 says:

        Yes that was sort of the gist I was getting at. Who just up and says "gee I bet we can put a hole in a cow and it won't kill it". While I admit I do eat them it doesn't mean I want to play with my food before ending it's life.

        • jwz says:

          Well I'd guess the idea occurred to a vet after surgery. "you know, I could just not close this, and then I wouldn't have to cut in again..."

          • retrodiva1 says:

            Like when one decides that if they have to make their bed every morning it will just get unmade again at some point?

            • jwz says:

              Exactly! Imagine how much easier it'd be to take a dump if you had a zipper.

              Birthin', too.

          • jayrtfm says:

            In 1822 Alexis St. Martin had a permanent open gastric fistula due to being shot. see:
            http://www.james.com/beaumont/dr_life.htm

            from the site:
            "It was not until August 1, 1825 that Dr. Beaumont - now stationed at Fort Niagara - began his experiments with St. Martin, becoming the first person to observe human digestion as it occurs in the stomach. Beaumont tied quarter-ounce pieces of food to the end of a silk string and dangled the food through the hole into St. Martin's stomach. (The food items were "high seasoned alamode beef," raw salted lean beef, raw salted fat pork, raw lean fresh beef, boiled corned beef, stale bread, and raw cabbage.) St. Martin went back to his household duties. Beaumont pulled out the string one, two, and three hours later, to observe the rate of digestion for the different foods."

  13. mactavish says:

    I first stuck my hand in a fistulated cow in about 1969, and most recently did it in the mid-nineties. It's one of my favorite things about the UC Davis picnic day. Some folks think of it as cruel, but I didn't get the sense the cow knew it was there.

    • kitty_vane says:

      I just have to say it:
      Holy Cow!

      I can understan why that might have been done, but it does look freaky.

      • shandrew says:

        It is odd to see, but the cows appear to not mind. You stick your arm in, and the cow doesn't bat an eyelash, although sometimes your arm gets a bit stuck for a while if the cow decides to flex her stomach muscles.

        Dave Barry wrote a column about these cows many years back.

        and "experienced the fistulated cow at Penn State" rew

  14. wolfmel26 says:

    I am doing a powerpoint presentation for my agricultural science class on fistulated cows. May I borrow that image to put in my presentation? Thank you.