Cows Are Being Toilet Trained To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Scientists are now training cows in proper toilette etiquette in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Cattle in farms can churn out approximately 66-88 pounds of feces and 8 gallons of urine daily, which means that there’s way too much waste going out into the environment.

This can have damaging effects on our planet as ammonia created through cow waste transforms into greenhouse gas nitrous oxide when mixed with the soil.

As reported by CNN, this poison can also contaminate soil and waterways, and that is the reason Jan Langbein, an animal psychologist at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN) in Germany, and his team of researchers, started considering the possibility of teaching cows to use specific toilet areas.

Image: FBN

Langbein said the following:

“Why shouldn’t (cattle) be able to learn how to use a toilet? Animals are quite clever, and they can learn a lot.”

Scientists from FBN and FLI in Germany and the University of Auckland in New Zealand started testing the theory with a process they named “MooLoo training.” It begins by putting calves in a closed latrine and giving them rewards each time they urinate.

Neele Dirsken of FBN, the first author of the study, said that as soon as the calves were given permission to go outside, they would go back to the latrine for their rewards, but eventually understood that in order to get something, they need to urinate first.

Image: FBN

By using in-ear headphones, the researchers then tried to encourage the animals to use the toilets by playing a “very nasty sound whenever they urinated outside,” Langbein said.

He went on to explain:

“We thought this would punish the animals, but they didn’t care. Ultimately, a splash of water worked well as a gentle deterrent.”

A modest success

Calves were trained for 45 days and received crushed barley or an electrolyte mixture as a reward. And 10 days in, 11 out of 16 of them were said to have completed the test and were trained successfully to use the toilet.

For this particular study, the experts only focused on urine and not feces, because, according to author Lindsay Matthews, urine is a bigger problem, especially in Europe. Nevertheless, Matthews says that if it’s possible to train cows for urine toilet use, the same can be done for feces.

See the process in action below.

The findings were made public in the journal Current Biology, and proved that it is possible to toilet-train cattle and this gave new hope to Langbein that in a matter of just a few years, “all cows will go to a toilet’.

Calves were also said to have performed better at toilet training than very young children.

What are your thoughts on these findings? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve enjoyed it.

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