Are the cows grazed on green fields in sunny environments more likely to produce healthier milk? An interesting experiment was conducted on a Russian farm to verify such a hypothesis. The catch is that the fact that the test didn’t take place on an open green field but employed a VR device as a tool for experiment.
According to CNN, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and Food conducted an experiment where milk cow grazing on the outskirts of Moscow are made to wear VR goggles offering visual images of an idyllic environment for the cattle. The premise of the test is that the animals are supposed to feel as if they were grazing on a vast green field and basking in the sun by wearing the goggles when in fact they are encircled in a small farm. Before the test began, VR experts and veterinarians worked together to devise a VR goggle tailored to milk cows with their head shape and eye-sights taken into consideration.
The early findings are encouraging. While there was no meaningful change detected in the amount of milk production, it was found that the goggles helped the animals to behave more calmly by alleviating their anxiety. The agriculture ministry said the test will continue to find the link between VR goggles and the quality and amount of the milk cows produce.
If the test proves successful, it will be good news for farmers who cannot graze their cattle on vast fields owing to a set of restrictions. Challenges remain, however, such as the potential mental side-effects that the cows might experience when the goggles are removed as well as the limited battery lifespans. Another question is why the cattle are not allowed to roam free in the field often in the first place, CNN reported.