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Humane cow explosion

Livestock time bombs
  (+8, -16)(+8, -16)
(+8, -16)
  [vote for,

On being born, a farm animal has a time bomb/incendiary device strapped to its head, set to explode at around the time it would have been slaughtered by other means. At the end of its life, its head blows up painlessly, the conflagration cooking the beast in the process. This avoids the problem of inhumane transportation or stress in the slaughterhouse. In order to avoid emotional trauma, each generation of animals is kept together in a field covered by a soundproof dome and they all explode and roast simultaneously.
nineteenthly, Aug 15 2008

Exploding Whale http://en.wikipedia...iki/Exploding_whale
[Klaatu, Aug 17 2008]

Exploding Whale - The Video http://www.youtube....watch?v=mhIoIlmHous
Paul Linnman is a local icon who will always be associated with the story of the exploding whale. "The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds." [Klaatu, Aug 17 2008]

End it all helmet End_20it_20all_20Helmet
So at least the meat will be recoverable. [ye_river_xiv, Aug 20 2008]

Meat Tenderizing with Explosives http://adsabs.harva...2001APS..SHK.H1047G
Just another reason why this is a great idea [MikeD, May 15 2009]

Ka-Pow! http://images.angus...that-goes-kapow.jpg
[Grogster, Mar 10 2013]


       Something to do with mad cow disease?   

       As if being a cowboy wasn't already dangerous enough.
normzone, Aug 15 2008

       Reminds me of an SF story where everyone had a small explosive charge implanted in their head at birth. Time was the medium of exchange, and when your time-account hit zero, the explosive went off.
ldischler, Aug 15 2008

       That's abominable.
phoenix, Aug 15 2008

       I'm seeing a trend with these ideas, so why don't we just leap to HHGTTG path and breed cows that want to be eaten.
MisterQED, Aug 15 2008

       Mayfly burgers? No, that's a recipe.   

       If we were allowed genetic engineering, i'd come up with some kind of gene which turned some of the bone matrix into an explosive, but we're not.
nineteenthly, Aug 15 2008

       "We have a problem. Let's blow it up."   

       .. You sound like a US President.
kuupuuluu, Aug 16 2008

       I have to give kudos for some attempt to make cow explosions more humane. I am skeptical about the dome, though.
bungston, Aug 16 2008

       I like domes. However, another method might be to plant woods around the fields to muffle the sound, breed deaf cows or come up with a combined time bomb/pair of ear muffs.
nineteenthly, Aug 16 2008

       I'm not sure that turning cows it self-baking suicide bombers qualifies as "humane". It doesn't even seem to have an ethical, philosophical, or practical basis. Is the reasoning here "i want my cow to instantly turn into a burger (guts and all) so I don't have to deal with the "dehumanizing" effect of having to kill and then gut a living creature? You do not want what you are going to get if you roast an unbutchered animal. If you don't want any person to have to endure killing an animal that you plan on eating then stop eating animal flesh.
WcW, Aug 16 2008

       I don't actually eat any animal products and haven't for several decades but don't consider it wrong to do so. If i did eat meat, i would probably prefer to go out and kill a wild animal in a way which minimises its suffering, out of the breeding season, probably with a crossbow bolt to its head, butcher it myself and maximise its use. I don't have the skills to do this well and i have various other reasons for not doing so, not connected to killing the animal. It is much more difficult to do all that well than to do what i need to eat plant or fungal food, and you have to be able to do it well for the sake of the animal you are going to eat. I want to be responsible for what i do, so i don't eat meat.   

       It isn't dehumanising to deal with your food supply in that way, and there is a considerable degree of fairness and respect involved. However, i also "split" - swing to extremes and see things in black and white. This is what i'm doing here.   

       Anyway, here's an ethical/philosophical basis: minimise suffering but accept death because death is only a potential problem for that which conceives it as something bad which happens. Death is not an event in life, so dying may be a problem for the being which is dying, but instant death isn't if there is no consciousness of it. For others, bereavement and grief are problems, but probably more for humans than for cows. Given that the cow is likely to suffer if it is conscious of the death of another cow, not as death but as something bad which is happening, they would all need to die at once or not perceive the bad thing which happens. I'm not positing that cows are aware of death as such, more that they are instinctively driven to escape the type of stimuli which might endanger them, and if they can't do that, it will lead to stress.   

       Practically, a bomb fixed to an animal's head long after its birth will cause stress. If fixed at birth, it is less likely to because younger animals are more open to new experiences and have longer to get used to permanent conditions. It's also practical to produced a timed incendiary device which will incinerate much of its body after killing it as quickly as a bolt gun to the head does. When that incineration occurs, some of it will be burnt, some rare and some intermediate. Some of it will be edible, depending on one's standards, for instance the skin will be crispy and appetising. I understand that meat has to be prepared in certain ways before being eaten, such as going past rigor mortis, and that's one flaw in this.
nineteenthly, Aug 16 2008

       I think that you are throughly missing my point. Attaching a bomb to an animal at birth does not increase or reduce the suffering that it will experience when killed by an effective close proximity explosion to the head. This is what I would describe as instantaneous death. Thus not a "suffering". However the animal may well suffer ITS ENTIRE LIFE from the implant. Not surely put possibly. To then add that the corpse be indiscriminatly char broiled before being butchered is inconceivable. You wouldn't notice the difference as a vegetarian but others would. Further killing an animal with a crossbow or other stringed instrument is an extremely painful slow and often torturous way to die frequently resulting in a disabled animal dieing from infection from a stray arrow. In an ethical farm the animal has no reason to fear or "stress" up to seconds before death and then cannot conceive of the unnatural predation that awaits it. On some level this is inhumane because this unawareness makes the farmer seem to be a lier of sorts fooling the livestock into a docile and submissive death. On the other hand it is not very "stressful" for the animal. The way that factory farms are run is cruel not for the way the animal dies but for what they endure while they live. This is the inhumane part, the part that the death of the animal is actually an escape from.
WcW, Aug 16 2008

       What a horrible idea.   

       You don't want to precook the steaks. They need to be raw when you toss them on the BBQ.   

mylodon, Aug 16 2008

       Bad all around.   

       Strapping a bomb to a calf's head, keeping it there as he grows, and setting it to go off at some odd time in the future is silly, impractical, dangerous and inconvenient. Sniping the critter through the head some fine morning would be a hell of a lot more practical, and much more humane.   

       Expecting an explosion to cook a cow is just wrong. Say, [nineteenthly], if picking up scorched bits of bloody meat off ground smeared with guts and shit is your idea of how to prepare beef, we may know why you've gone veggie.   

       Cattle-raising is a disgusting process, as is the butchering of our bovine friends. Things should be done better, but this idea isn't better in any way. It isn't funny at all, either--an attempt at humor being the only explanation I can imagine for posting it.
baconbrain, Aug 16 2008

       Right, clearly i'm not up to Jonathan Swift's standards, sorry.   

       OK, basically it came from [simonj]'s comment on using harpoons on all livestock, though i'm responsible for it and i'm not passing the buck. Seriously, i was attempting humour. From my perspective, you might see it as gallows humour because i've been heavily involved in various animal welfare groups in the past and i've seen the state of animals in some farms and other institutions first hand, which the owners would probably have preferred us not to film and release to the public.   

       On the issue of humane killing, i have long thought that a bullet through the head would be better and for this reason that venison is better than meat. Maybe it'd be better to increase the diversity of the ecosystem if necessary, then introduce animals into it which could then be shot sustainably for food and their bodies used as much as possible for leather, calcium, iron and the like. You wouldn't get enough meat to feed the population in this country though, if you did that.
nineteenthly, Aug 17 2008

       Surely a conflagration would either cook them very unevenly (if brief), or reduce them to inedible ashes.
pertinax, Aug 17 2008

       //That's abominable.//   

       It's a-bomb-on-a-bull.
bnip, Aug 17 2008

       OK, this is the most hated idea i've ever posted. If i now delete it, i have lost my most disliked idea, and that seems to portray me in an unfairly good light. Does anyone have any suggestions? It'll be buried soon anyway.
nineteenthly, Aug 17 2008

       // a bullet through the head would be better and for this reason that venison is better than meat //   

       When shooting deer, given the typical ranges involved, it is more usual to go for a chest (heart) shot than a head shot. The head is a much smaller target, and deer move their heads very frequently, leading to an increased risk of wounding.   

       Using the correct ammunition, and calibre of weapon, death from a correctly-placed chest shot is extremely rapid, and at least the animal has had a "free and natural" existance up to that moment. Since most deer are culled to control herd size, and at the upper limit of normal age, this is probably preferable to a slower "natural" death from disease or injury, although the deer's views on this are not on record at this time.   

       As to the idea, an explosive will not cook the animal, merely disintegrate it. A device such as thermite would cause localised burning, but not cook the bulk of the meat. Not half baked, but maybe half-roasted ....
8th of 7, Aug 17 2008

       Yes, that is better, and may involve less suffering than what some predators would do. It also makes more sense than trying to hit an animal with antlers (if that's done) on the head.   

       Maybe i should come up with an idea that's even worse.
nineteenthly, Aug 17 2008

       // an idea that's even worse //   

       That probably won't be easy.   

       Most UK deer are in controlled herds, and there are no predators capable of tackling a deer, only scavengers.   

       In other geographies, wolves, mountain lions and bears take their toll, although contrary to popular belief, bears are not particualrly agressive to prey species, as it's too much effort. They are omnivorous scavengers.
8th of 7, Aug 17 2008

       What about wolves? There are plans to reintroduce them into the Highlands.   

       I probably won't need to try, it'll just happen.
nineteenthly, Aug 17 2008

       //they all explode and roast simultaneously//   

       This was tried with a beached sperm whale in Florence, OR. Ask any of the locals and they will tell you that not a single piece of the whale was cooked as it came slamming back to earth. But then, ODOT only used a œ ton of TNT. <link> [-]
Klaatu, Aug 17 2008

       [bnip] - How noble.
phoenix, Aug 17 2008


       Nineteenthly, I recommend keeping this idea.   

       I always say, a spectacularly bad idea may not be good, or liked, but it is spectacular in it's own special way.   

       Me, I keep anything that can get more than a full bun or bone. Half a bone usually goes out for a possible re-write some distant day, and unless I truely think my idea could be marketable, I tend to get rid of my hald buns after a while too.   

       Strong reactions are... one of the things that make going to the halfbakery worthwhile.
ye_river_xiv, Aug 18 2008

       Wasn't trying to act noble, [phoenix]. I was just trying, for my own reasons, to dissuade [nineteenthly] from deleting the idea. I still hope he doesn't. But I deleted my anno a few minutes after posting it (but before your reply).
bnip, Aug 18 2008

       Sorry for any confusion. I just didn't know if I'd ever get another chance to follow someone's "it's abominable" by saying "it's a-bomb-on-a-bull"!
bnip, Aug 18 2008

       Just now edited my original anno to (hopefully) clarify the humourous intent.
bnip, Aug 18 2008

       It's not an idea, it's angst bordering on advocacy. A little work and this could be the theme of tedious and uninformed science fiction plot.   

       I would like to give another bone, but I can't, so I've given a bun in stead.
mylodon, Aug 18 2008

       The question is then, how to rescue such an idea from being tedious. Uninformed is OK.
nineteenthly, Aug 18 2008

       //The question is then, how to rescue such an idea from being tedious. Uninformed is OK.//   

       Misquote "The Wonder Stuff" and sing, " Oh wow, look at me now, I'm *blowing* up your cow to the size of my problem"!
4whom, Aug 18 2008

       //it is more usual to go for a chest (heart) shot than a head shot. The head is a much smaller target //
Now, I'm no cervine anatomist, but I'd say the heart is the smaller of the two.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Aug 18 2008

       To keep it from being tedious, make it an idea that, if it were successful, would benefit anyone or anything.   

       Instead, it is pure negativity.
mylodon, Aug 18 2008

       Negativity might sell though (in terms of a story). Look at George Orwell or Blake's Seven. Well, maybe not the latter.
nineteenthly, Aug 18 2008

       //it is more usual to go for a chest (heart) shot than a head shot. The head is a much smaller target // Now, I'm no cervine anatomist, but I'd say the heart is the smaller of the two.//   

       True, but the lungs are not. But mostly what you're taking advantage of is the trauma caused by a bullet fragmenting at a very high velocity. The shock and subsequent tissue damage alone are enough to kill a deer instantly, even if you don't hit the heart directly.
Noexit, Aug 18 2008

       What [Noexit] said.
8th of 7, Aug 18 2008

       //Shock//. //advantage// and //instant//
don't go together in my lexicon .
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Aug 18 2008

       I think that focusing on the very short period of pain prior to death (as with the death penalty) allows people to avoid directly confronting reality. The concept "at least it was painless" is a huge moral cop out. If instead we recognized that this reflects our tremendous sense of guilt about what we are doing we might question the system as a whole. PAIN IS NOT A MORAL PREROGATIVE: PAIN IS ONE WAY LIVING THINGS RELATE TO BEING ALIVE. Compassion is the capacity to understand far more.
WcW, Aug 19 2008

       In 1984 the 'system' benefited the 'man'.
mylodon, Aug 19 2008

       There are a number of apparently independent criteria which need to be assessed in making this kind of judgement. Pain, or rather suffering, is one of them and death is another, and they are independent. There are others, such as justice and abstinence from violence or destruction. In the case of suffering, the situation is complicated by insight and empathy. We have insight, for instance central chest pain is likely to lead to more suffering than at face value because we worry it might be a heart attack. We are aware of this because of our use of language. However, an actual MI involves anxiety regardless of insight. We also tend to posit the existence of other minds, and the death or perceived suffering of others impacts on us as a result to a greater extent than it would for a cat, for example, i.e. a species for which empathy would be a problem because it has to eat other animals to survive, unless it's sadistic. Even for a cat, though, there is an interval, presumably after the stage at which it is prepared to eat its offspring and before they leave its care, where the death or absence of its kittens causes suffering for it, a state somewhat analogous to empathy.   

       In the case of livestock, most of them are herd animals and herbivores. This may mean they have instincts which motivate them to suffer when they see other members of their species suffer, and they may also become stressed if they aren't with their herds. Anything more than that i don't know, but that may mean that the death or suffering of a cow is more significant in the life of other cows as well as the humans who perceive it to die or otherwise suffer than that of a cat. That doesn't mean it's OK to cause a cat to suffer. There's an additional problem of incommensurability. It isn't clear how to value the relative independent issues of suffering and death, and also to compare suffering between individuals. Then there are the problems of anthropomorphism and the double effect of inflicting suffering or killing.
nineteenthly, Aug 19 2008

       See, what you do is soften kids up by starting them on gummi bears. Then, on to animal crackers. At christmas, gingerbread men. Once they've fully lost empathy for life itself, then its on to the beefsteaks, sausages, baby-back ribs, hamburgers, bacon, fillets, stir-fry, carne asada, pollo al carbon... ok now I'm hungry.
mylodon, Aug 19 2008

       AHA! You might make a happy marriage between this humane cow explosion, and the "end it all helmet" (Link)   

       The meat at least will not then be spoiled by a heavy seasoning of sulphur and shrapnel.   

       Although I believe the reason heart shots are preferrable to head shots is that the head is completely protected by skull, which in most cases is quite thick. Boars for example, have skulls thick enough that a .45 round will deal no more damage than a slight dent.   

       With the potential strength of a bovine skull in question, and the goal of instantly preventing suffering, I propose instead that a mechanically operated razor implanted in the neck, and designed to cut the beast's spinal chord should be used instead. This will have the additional benefit of not causing the animal's organs to instantly stop, thus increasing the timframe in which the meat will not need refrigeration to prevent spoilage.
ye_river_xiv, Aug 20 2008

       Whale fellow helmet.   

       Lots of cow-and-whale discussions on the HB lately.
bnip, Aug 20 2008

       Whale and fairwhale, bovine biker.
nineteenthly, Aug 20 2008

       Can I just point out that the likelihood of an explosive device remaining strapped to a bovine head for any length of time is pretty remote. If the cow doesn't manage to shake it off then the local teenagers will have them off in pretty short order.
DrBob, Aug 20 2008

       Another reason for having a dome.   

       "Seriously" though, i really thought explosive bones would be better, but i can't think of a good way of doing that without genetic engineering. The thing is, you've got phosphorus, methane and nitrogenous waste in the animal already, and i can't help but think there may be a way of combining those using physiological processes which don't exist in the cow already, but since genetic engineering isn't allowed, i haven't given it much thought. I was thinking about some combination of gut flora and rumen bacteria, and maybe some kind of genetic metabolic disorder. However, i don't really want to go there.
nineteenthly, Aug 20 2008

       //However, i don't really want to go there.//   

       Can't say I blame ya.
methinksnot, May 14 2009

       Nineteenthly I believe that the ideas that most repel people are the very best ones. +   

       things are never as good or as bad as they seem   

       where is 21Q on this issue?   

       I eat meat and prefer not to think of the source or process that makes it available. I tend to avoid selecting food that is meat as frequently as possible just don't prefer it.   

       Anyhow I am opposed to hunting as a "sport" and also when there is an alternative available.   

       I say if you can not and are unwilling to attempt catching it, killing it and eating it with your bare hands then your a coward and do not deserve your own life or sustenance that is the result of your cheating.   

       Last thought and I hope that everyone has a problem with this:   

       I think that the device installed at birth should make the animals quality of life as miserable as possible and force the issue of wanting to die as soon as possible or make them so angry as to force revolt and emancipation.   

       They should be able to explode at will.
vfrackis, May 15 2009

       Thanks. Oh well, here we go again. The ideas here are often impractical, but some are nevertheless perceived to be in poor taste. It's interesting but also disturbing to explore the boundaries of good taste, and some of them seem to be thought experiments concerning the question of taste. There's also a contrast between the fact of the page rendered by the web browser from the data stored on the HB server and the interpretations the creator of the original idea, the people who annotate and link on the idea page and the people who read the idea. As a result of that, the authorship of the idea pages is confused, because it's a joint creation of everyone who contributes to the page.
I am not [benfrost], but my interpretation of his ideas is that many of them elicit disgust in the majority of people who read them, usually in quite an original way. I can't even remember what my intention was with this idea, but so many people have responded to it that i can't bring myself to delete it. That would mean all your annos would be lost, all your negative votes would be lost and so forth. I don't want to do that to anyone.
nineteenthly, May 15 2009

       I don't know how I missed this idea. This is glorious, [19thly].   

       On a serious note; I wonder how better the meat would taste if the animal supplying said meat died completely oblivious, and whose CNS had absolutely no chance whatsoever to produce the fight or flight hormones.   

       An Idea: If we timed the coup de grace on or about 10:00 pm July 4th, the sound-proof dome would be unnecessary, if not unwanted.   

       I have one problem with your idea: I'm not too thrilled with the possibility of farmers edging in on the PTSD that my fellow soldiers and I have, more or less cornered. Sympathy spread too thin just isn't worth the trouble.
MikeD, May 15 2009

       Thanks, [MikeD]. I did think there should be a soundproof dome. Would that not help?
nineteenthly, May 15 2009

       //... soundproof dome. Would that not help?//   

       Not on the 4th of July.   

       It would be like extra fireworks. Crowds of all ages would set up there blankets and folding chairs around cow pastures all over the U.S., oohing and ahing as cows' heads went off like microwave popcorn.   

       Another plus: <link>   

       *Edited for clarity*
MikeD, May 15 2009

       Interesting. So presumably the proteins in the muscle fibres get rearranged so they aren't parallel? That's a plus.
Sorry, [up_on]. Try reading "Goodbye Houston Street, Goodbye".
nineteenthly, May 15 2009

       "A herd of Black Angus cattle, allegedly wearing the crescent-one-nine brand, escaped in the South Valley this morning. It is reported that they have blown up every electric fence in the area."
lurch, May 15 2009

       Good point, [lurch]. Had i been in the Highlands when i thought of this, that would've been an obvious objection. As it was, i was walking past a fairly small field surrounded by a stone wall and imagined the stones being piled up in an arch-like manner to form a dome (i know that wouldn't work, by the way).
Actually, is that really an objection? Isn't it more a case of heroic suicidal cattle laying down their lives for the freedom of the herd?
nineteenthly, May 15 2009

       //crescent-one-nine brand//   

       Funny. When I first read this anno, I assumed the crescent was in reference to Islam, not to half bakery.
MikeD, May 16 2009

       Well, given where you've been hanging out recently, I think that's understandable.

My son suggests that I could have used the "crescent-4" brand...
lurch, May 17 2009

       I don't think that //genetic engineering isn't allowed//, just use of technologies in magical or poorly understood ways (such as explosions that cook meat).
spidermother, May 17 2009

       I do sometimes think about that, but to be honest i never actually liked meat.
nineteenthly, May 17 2009

       //At the end of its life, its head blows up painlessly// [marked-for-tagline]
phundug, Mar 08 2013

       //I eat meat and prefer not to think of the source or process that makes it available// Then, two lines later: //I say if you can not and are unwilling to attempt catching it, killing it and eating it with your bare hands then your a coward and do not deserve your own life or sustenance that is the result of your cheating.//   

       I don't really want to dignify this with a response, but you’re a bloody minded hypocrite.   

       Also, //killing an animal with a crossbow or other stringed instrument is an extremely painful slow and often torturous way to die frequently resulting in a disabled animal dieing from infection from a stray arrow.//   

       That’s ridiculous, and I’d hope that you’d know it. Of course, it sometimes happens that an arrow kill isn’t clean, and I’d say all of us who bow hunt have had animals escape at some time or other, but to say every arrow shot animal suffers an “extremely painful slow and often torturous” death is simply incorrect. An arrow, with a razor (and I mean that, I can shave with my broadheads – I do them myself like a straight razor, strop and all) sharp broadhead causes only cutting damage – no tearing, no fragmentation, etc. What often happens is that the animal is completely unaware that it’s been hit. I’ve had pigs pass out from blood loss, with their head down feeding because they didn’t know they’d been hit. It’s a bit special when that happens, but it’s at least as prevalent for me as the other end of the scale where there is some obvious suffering. The point I’m trying to make here, ethics aside – is that it’s not as barbaric and ineffective as you think. The end result is far more to do with the skill, patience and care of the hunter, than it is any other factors.   

       The idea itself is an obvious joke, and was clearly intended as that.
Custardguts, Mar 10 2013

       //killing an animal with a crossbow or other stringed instrument is an extremely painful slow and often torturous way to die//   

       That is tragically true. My great grandfather's cousin Vinnie 'The Dryer' Hall was bludgeoned to death with violins, a process that took over an hour. The Hasselblad Gang had planned to machine-gun him to death, but an embarrassing mix- up over which violin cases to take with them necessitated a last-minute change of plan.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 11 2013

       Ah, perhaps this is where the term "Axe" when referring to an electric guitar came from.
Custardguts, Mar 11 2013

       ^^ The Kronensburg City Orchestra, on the other hand, was delighted... well the string section was delighted; not so much the brass which was in the line of fire.
FlyingToaster, Mar 11 2013

       I love it.
Kansan101, Mar 15 2013

       They knocked 4 seasons of shit out of him...
Ling, Mar 15 2013


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