Cattle prods vs. taser guns

Updated March 23, 2017

Cattle prods and Taser guns are two varieties of electroshock weapons, nonlethal devices that deliver an electrical shock. Cattle prods are generally used in the farming industry in order to subdue or prod an animal to move. Taser guns, on the other hand, are mostly used in the law enforcement community as a way to subdue people.

Cattle Prod Design

A cattle prod is a handheld device that delivers a low-current, high-voltage charge to either a person or an animal through the use of two electrodes. Prods are thin sticks, generally between six inches and six feet long. The charge is delivered when the two electrodes touch the subject to complete the electrical circuit and deliver the charge through the body.

Taser Gun Design

A Taser gun works in the same way that a cattle prod does except with the added feature of being able to fire a projectile with the gun's two electrodes. This way, a subject can receive an electrical charge from a longer distance (usually a maximum of 10 feet away).

Cattle Prod Uses

Cattle prods are generally used on farm animals in order to get them to move in a specific direction. Cattle prods have also been known to be used in order to torture human subjects.

Taser Gun Usage

Due to the ability to deliver a projectile, Taser guns are popular in the law-enforcement community as a way to deliver a nonlethal charge into subjects. The amount of voltage that is allowed to pass through a Taser gun is subject to the law of the state where the gun is used. Taser guns have also been used in military operations.


Both cattle prods and Taser guns have been criticised for a number of reasons. Cattle prods that are used on animals have been criticised by animal rights groups such as PETA for promoting animal abuse. Meanwhile, critics have asserted that the Taser guns used by law enforcement are too readily available and are sometimes used when it is not necessary. Taser gun use has also contributed to the deaths of some human subjects, especially those with pre-existing health conditions, prompting critics to question the nonlethal nature of the devices.

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About the Author

Rick Paulas is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. He has been writing professionally since 2005. He has previously written for "McSweeney's,", "Vice Magazine" and "Radar Magazine," and has worked as an editor for "The Coming," "Duct Tape & Rouge," and "TSB Magazine." Paulas holds a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications and advertising from Michigan State University.