Scientists are potty training cows in a bid to save the environment. Bet you never thought of that now did you BUZZ Fam?
In a study published Monday in the journal Current Biology, scientists from Germany found that it was possible to potty train cows in order to find a solution to the environmental damage caused by livestock waste.
So here’s how it worked.
The team of scientists from FBN and FLI in Germany and the University of Auckland in New Zealand began to potty-train the calves, in a process they called “MooLoo training.”In the first phase of training, the cattle were put in a closed latrine. And whenever they urinated, they were given a reward of either electrolyte mixture or crushed barley.
To encourage calves to use the toilets, researchers also came up with a deterrent. “We first used in-ear headphones and we played a very nasty sound whenever they urinated outside,” Jan Langbein, co-author of a study told CNN.
“We thought this would punish the animals, but they didn’t care. Ultimately, a splash of water worked well as a gentle deterrent.”
The calves were trained for 45 minutes every other day. And after 10 training days, the team had managed to successfully train 11 out of the 16 calves involved in the experiment. The study showed that it is possible to potty-train calves, and Langbein said he hoped that “in a few years all cows will go to a toilet.”
Now we know what you’re thinking; how does potty training cows help to save the environment? Agriculture is the largest source of global ammonia emissions, and livestock farming makes up more than half of that contribution.
Farmed cattle produce roughly 66-88 pounds of feces and 8 gallons of urine each day and are free to relieve themselves where they please. However, the spread of their waste into the soil can have negative effects on the environment, the researchers noted in a press release.
When their waste is mixed with soil it is converted into nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas. It also contaminates the soil and local waterways.