Have you ever wondered how to toilet train a cow? Is it like training a puppy?
German Scientists have found that it’s more like teaching a cat to use a litter tray!
Climate change occurs when greenhouse gases pollute the atmosphere, making a layer through which heat energy can’t escape back into space. This acts like a blanket around the Earth, warming it up. The additional warming can then cause environmental changes such as higher temperatures, more rainfall and droughts, and more extreme weather events.
Humans are contributing to climate change by the use of fossil fuels, deforestation and the farming of animals for food. In fact, about 10% of all the greenhouse gases which originate from human activity come from cattle.
Cow urine is high in ammonia, which turns to nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, when it mixes with the soil.
Scientists in Germany have been toilet-training cows in an attempt to help reduce the amount of nitrous oxide being released into the atmosphere.
A group of 16 cows were trained to use the “MooLoo.” They were placed inside the special pen and rewarded with food when they urinated. Then, when they were placed in an area next to the MooLoo, they were rewarded with food if they went into the “facility” to urinate. Those cows that didn’t choose to use the MooLoo were squirted with water.
A third stage of the process increased the distance between the cattle and the toilet, whilst maintaining the rewards and punishments.
By the end of the training sessions, 11 of the 16 cows were successfully toilet trained.
It is thought that if these ideas can be rolled out en mass, and that 80% of urine can be captured from cattle, we could see a 56% reduction in ammonia emissions, as well as improving animal welfare and hygeine.
Until next time, Keep calm & apply some Science!