A farmer in Turkey has fitted his cooped-up cows with virtual reality goggles to help cows relax by offering them sun-filled views of green pastures. The cattle breeder, Izzet Kocak, has tried out the headsets on two of his cattle after a study suggested the pleasant scenes make the cows less anxious and produce more milk.
The method had produced some good results, with output increasing from 22 liters to 27 liters milk a day, he told the Turkish news outlet Anadolu Ajansi. Kocak thought that tricking the cows into thinking they were actually outside in a beautiful, green pasture through VR headsets would make them happier and produce more milk since the cows are trapped indoors, especially in winters. Previously, Kocak made the cows listen to classical music to relax them.
Speaking to Anadolu Ajansi, Kocak said that “In Russia, cows were fitted with virtual reality goggles. We decided to try it in our own business. In the first stage, we trialed the virtual reality goggles on two of our animals. We monitored the process for about ten days. We observed an increase in both the quality and quantity of milk in animals wearing the goggles.”
The VR headsets were developed with vets and first tested on a farm in Moscow, Russia. Farmers worked with developers, a team of vets, and consultants at the Krasnogorsk farm near Moscow, to beam the cattle a simulation of a summer field. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Moscow, the study revealed reduced anxiety and improved overall emotional mood in the herd. The environmental conditions have a significant impact on cow health and, as a consequence, the quality and quantity of milk produced.
Since the VR goggles proved to be a success on his farm, Kocak plans to buy ten more headsets from Russia and install them on his animals. Well, the early results seem positive for the farmers, but the process raises serious questions about ethical farming.