Last week, a cow wandering near the Spokane Valley Mall in Washington state died after it was repeatedly Tasered by police. Last year a dog in Oregon died after repeated Taser strikes.

How do the police, coroners and other Taser advocates explain these animal deaths? It’s a pretty safe bet that neither of these animals were high on cocaine when they were zapped. I’m no animal psychologist, but I doubt whether “excited delirium” played a role either. Is it possible that, just maybe, the 50,000 volts of electricity pulsing through their bodies may have had fatal consequences?

More than 200 North Americans have died after being Tasered by police, 69 last year alone. Although there have been 14 Canadian fatalities, no independent safety tests have ever been done in this country.