Gelding and birthing procedures: Which do you feel?

So this German guy I met who’s traveling through China and southeast Asia told a few stories about an experience he had in Australia.

First off, he said he got to see a vet geld a horse. They’re like, “Hey, want to come watch?” And he had nothing better to do. My friend said they put the horse to sleep, but still the horse’s breathing became really heavy during the operation. He said they used a razor at first and then this big tool that looked like a huge pair of pliers. My friend included more details, but I’ll spare some of that here.

Anyway, as he’s telling this, my whole body is cringing.

Right after telling that story, though, my friend said another farmer mentioned that when one of his animals – a sheep or a goat or something, I don’t remember – was giving birth, if the mother started to struggle for whatever reason, the farmer would reach into the animal’s womb and pull the baby out. Again, my friend included more details in the story, but I won’t.

After hearing his description, I just stood there in pause.

My friend then added one more detail, one I will repeat. He said whenever he tells these stories back to back, he always gets the same reactions. For the first story, the guys are all squirming. For the second, all the ladies wince.

As soon as he pointed that out, I knew it was totally accurate. The second story sounded rough to me, but I couldn’t feel anything in my body the way I did when I heard the first story.

Interesting how that works, huh? Interesting how empathy and sympathy rely so much on genetics, and experiences we can actually have.