Monday, January 29, 2007

And tell me, have you noticed any soreness in your udders?

Yesterday, as I watched a grown man bugger 60-odd cows with his forearm I got to thinking that some professions really have benefited from new technology more than others.

Journalists, for example, write and file their stories on their computers, doctors have x-ray and MRI machines and even teachers get laptops to put together snazzy lesson plans.

But the man who has the unfortunate job of ‘preg testing’ (exactly what it sounds like) cows? Why he’s just got the arms that god gave him.

Admittedly I have been born and bred in the city and, while I like cows I don’t know much about them. Even less do I know about pregnancy testing. But I’m not sure how many “qualifications” I need to propose that there has to be an alternative to digging your bare arm into a cow’s anal passage. Seriously, I mean let's at least talk about it.

First of all let’s talk about gloves. Actually let’s not just talk about them - let’s put them on before we get frisky with the stock, eh? I know times are tough for farmers these days but when you can’t afford a layer of latex between you and... well, you know - p’raps it’s time to change careers?

And, I mean, protection aside… well, I’m just putting this out there but haven’t we, as a society, come along a bit further than this? Is this really what evolution has geared us for: being fully equipped to really get in there right up to the shoulder? Isn’t there an alternative?

Like, say, a stethoscope to check for a pulse? I’m not saying give the cows a stick to piss on but using a stethoscope isn’t brain surgery. It isn’t even journalism. Five year old kids play with these things – you don’t need a medical degree to use one, is all I’m saying.

Now that I mention it what about a blood test? Counselling? Monitoring for morning sickness?

Alright, so I'm unlikely to change the system. But to anyone who says we live in age where technology does everything for us and makes everyone's lives better I say balls: tell that to the man with shit in his elbow crease.

And to everyone not involved in the preg-testing game: spare a thought for those who are the next time you’re bitching about the Atari-era computer you have to work on, or the fact that you need to be frisked every time you get a highlighter from the stationery cupboard. Because unless you’re physically dragging shit out of a cow’s arse with your probing fingers on your average work day… things just aren’t that bad.

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