Farmers Give Cows Virtual Reality Headsets To Simulate Being Outside

Jan 13, 2022 by apost team

Cows love having an open pasture to graze in. But in some parts of the world, this is only attainable during summer. In the winter months, it can become too cold for cows to safely stay outside, so they are kept in a barn for warmth. Being stuck inside is not always pleasant for the cattle, and their unhappiness correlates to less milk production. 

For this reason, some cattle owners have fitted their cows with virtual reality headsets that run a program specifically for bovine. The program simulates a pasture in summer and was developed to specifications for how a cow perceives color and light, which differs from a human.

Reports from a farm in Moscow, Russia — where the VR headsets were first developed by veterinarians — found in 2019 that the cows who used the headsets saw a decrease in anxiety and an improved mood. This led to an increase in milk production, which went from 5.8 gallons to 7 gallons a day. 

Cattle breeder Izzet Kocak from Aksaray, Turkey, heard about this experiment and tried the VR headsets on two of his cows in December 2021. He was so happy with the results he went out to buy ten more. Kocak is dedicated to making sure his cows stay happy. In the past, he has played classical music for his 180 animals to improve their mood and milk production. 

The photos Kocak took of his cows wearing the headsets went viral on social media, and many people commented that "living" in virtual reality while having your body used as a means of production was reminiscent of the film franchise "The Matrix." Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating story.

Izzet Kocak, Cows, virtual reality glasses (2021), (Zekeriya Karadavut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

One fan of "The Matrix" quoted the film by writing under the picture of the cows, "You take the short grass, the story ends, you wake up in the pasture and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the long grass, you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the human hole goes." Another person replied, "With the sequels The Mootrix Reuddered and The Mootrix Ruminations."

The initial experiment in Moscow was such a success that the technology is now being passed around the world. According to the BBC, the headsets were made specifically for the "structural features of cow heads" by vets, and the animals were shown a "unique summer field simulation program." The familiar sight of an open pasture was enough to improve the mood of the entire herd. 

Russia's Ministry of Agriculture and Food says that research has shown a link between a cow's emotional state and its milk production. They stated, "Examples of dairy farms from different countries show that in a calm atmosphere, the quantity, and sometimes the quality, of milk increases markedly."

The headsets were designed specifically for the way that cows perceive color. According to the National Library of Medicine, cattle see shades of red the easiest but have a hard time distinguishing between blue and green.

When Kocak put the headsets on his cows, he found an improvement in the emotional wellbeing of his animals. "They are watching a green pasture, and it gives them an emotional boost. They are less stressed," he shared

Cows, virtual reality glasses (2021), (Zekeriya Karadavut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

What do you think of cows wearing VR headsets? Let us know your opinion, and be sure to pass this along to all of the animal lovers in your life. 

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