Breaking Baaad: Scientists Once Tested Taser Safety By Giving Sheep Given Meth Then Shocking Them

J. Helgason /

The question "how do they test the safety of non-lethal weapons" may have crossed your mind at some point or another (you absolute sicko). Do they test them on animals, or some poor employee who draws the short straw and now has to stand there getting shocked by 50,000 volts?

The answer is yes.

Tasers, for instance, have been tested on both human employees and meth-addled sheep. The army test it too, but that mainly seems to be because they get some sort of weird kick from tasering their colleagues if the laughter in this video is anything to go by.

The one that probably stands out to you, let's face it, is the methed-up sheep. As you'd expect, law enforcement doesn't encounter many sheep on drugs committing crimes. They are, to be fair to them, a peaceful species known mainly for eating grass rather than (for example) plowing an armored car through a bank in an attempt to grab the ATM for drug money.

The study, funded partly by TASER International, was conducted in order to test the safety of tasering humans on the drug.

"Because of the prevalence of methamphetamine abuse worldwide, it is not uncommon for subjects in law enforcement encounters to be methamphetamine-intoxicated," study authors wrote in their paper in 2010.

"Methamphetamine has been present in arrest-related death cases in which an electronic control device (ECD) was used. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the cardiac effects of an ECD in a methamphetamine intoxication model."

The researchers took sixteen Dorset sheep (best to be thorough) and anesthetized them, before giving them methamphetamine hydrochloride intravenously and monitoring their heart rates. 30 minutes later, they were administered shocks by darts inserted into their chest, near their sternum. 

The sheep were given first a 5-second continuous exposure from a Taser, then a 15-second intermittent exposure, a 30-second intermittent exposure, and finally a grueling 40-second intermittent exposure. As a control, of course, some of the sheep were not high on meth at the time.

Following the experiment, they found that "in smaller animals (32 kg or less), ECD exposure exacerbated atrial and ventricular irritability induced by methamphetamine intoxication," surprise surprise, when you shock someone on meth it exacerbates their already irregular heartbeat caused by meth, "but this effect was not seen in larger, adult-sized animals."

No animals experienced ventricular fibrillation, where the heart beats with rapid, erratic electrical impulses, though probably woke up with a meth hangover and a feeling that something very odd just happened.


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