Regardless, you still don't know the pain threshold of these animals. Not to mention pain isn't a one size fits all deal. What's painful to me may be excruciating to another and not painful at all to another. Since horses cannot self report and they are darn good at hiding pain you really have no way to tell exactly how much pain they are in.
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I will agree that pain threshold is different between animals, some are more tolerant than others. But cattle and horses, as a whole, have a higher threshold than humans.
Something to consider.... while it seems like a better idea to sedate everything, it just isn't practical in all situations. Like smrobs said, running something into a chute is more stressful then roping and laying it down whether to doctor, castrate, brand, vaccinate..etc. 5 minutes and its a done deal back to eating with roping. To run something into corrals, into a chute, medicate and doctor is more stressful, time consuming and keeping whatever animal it is from eating, being happy and pumping it with un-necessary medication.
That is why we do what we do. If the animal doesn't thrive and do well we don't get paid and it is a reflection on our abilities. Poor abilities show in poor animal condition.
Come look at our horse herd, we have 20+ year old ranch horses that look like horses half their age and making big circles.
Look at how our calves do at the sale, we sent some four weights that brought well over $2 at the local sale, not a video sale....if you want to tack on sedation/painkillers on top that price can you imagine what your beef cost would be to you?