German scientists teach cows to go to the toilet

Nitrous oxide is the third most important gas in terms of the greenhouse effect, after methane and carbon dioxide. And during excretion the cow releases it into the atmosphere. Therefore, German scientists have created special toilets where cows can go and where gases can be neutralized.

“Cows, like many other livestock, are very intelligent. Why don’t they learn to use the bathroom?” Jan Langbein, an animal psychologist and one of the study’s authors, asked The Telegraph.

The researchers conducted the study on 16 cows, 11 of which were successful when the animals learned to walk in the excretory chamber. According to scientists, they only need 15 days.

Rewards and punishments

“We teach cows a system of punishment and reward,” explains Dr. Langbein, added: “We first used headphones to punish, we made an unpleasant sound every time the cows peed outside. But they didn’t do anything, so we started pouring water over them.” The scientists reportedly used a combination classic stroking and delicious food as a gift.

In special toilets used by cows, urine should not be converted into nitrous oxide, as cow urine is in contact with soil. However, even scientists admit that this is only a minor improvement on the problems posed by nitric oxide production in cattle farming.

In total, cattle farming brings more than four billion tons of nitric oxide into the atmosphere every year. Cow’s milk production was then another 1.5 billion tons. This together is more than the total emissions of all crop production. And in this amount, the excretion of cows has only a marginal portion, most of the pollution occurs during feeding, grazing and housing.

Camilla Salazar

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