Students give cheers to steers in agri assignment


Adrian Mondragon and Heath Hawkins assist Mr. Fires in preparing a bull for castration.

ANA MEZA – Hoof Prints Staff

Members of the animal science class completed a unique assignment on Monday, Oct. 12. The class traveled to Heath Sanders’ farm after school to castrate bulls. The class was taught three methods of castration by Mr. Bruce Fires, agricultural instructor.

“I was very very pleased with my students,” Mr. Fires said. “Nobody refused to get their hands-on experience with castration. They got the full aspect of cowboy life.” Each student castrated their own bull and dressed for the occasion by wearing old clothes, boots and gloves.

Castrating the bulls brought several changes to the views of the students. “Blood splattered, I screamed and almost threw up.  I loved it and now I want to be an ag major,” said Shelby Qualls.  While Qualls’ views changed in favor of going into the agricultural field, Katherine Clowers stated that her future plans may have changed as a result of the assignment.“I now know that I don’t want to be a vet anymore,” Clowers said.

The castration assignment may have changed the career paths of some students, but it changed the view on food for Dalis Harlan. “I will never look at beef the same way again,” he stated.

Each student had a different reaction to the procedure. “The funnest part for me was running around in the arena with supplies in hand to get to the bull after it was roped,” said Whitlee Rolland. “We ran a lot and it got tiring, but we got to see Mr. Fires in action.”

According to the students, Mr. Fires’ abilities shone brightly that day. “My favorite part was when Mr. Fires wrestled the bull to the ground with his bare hands,” said Adrian Mondragon. Not everyone had such a positive response. Heath Hawkins joked about the sympathy he felt for the bulls. “It hurt me and there were a lot of unhappy steers,” Hawkins said.

After the castration was complete, the students branded a couple of bulls and rode horses around the arena. They also dissected the detached body parts.

The students commented that the testicles weren’t as bad as they had thought. They compared them to chicken nuggets, tongues and scallops. The class will continue exploring new territory by cooking and eating the testicles they removed from the bulls.