Cows can now be trained to use a toilet in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, researchers have said.
The animals were placed in the MooLoo pen and were rewarded with food for urinating. After this, they were then placed in an area next to the MooLoo and rewarded for walking into the pen and urinating.
In the study, which took place in Germany, scientists trained the animals to use a designated toilet. Their urine was then collected and treated. The ammonia from cows’ urine turns into the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide when it’s mixed with soil.
Worldwide, about 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activities comes from cattle. Researchers attempted to teach 16 cows to use the toilet, dubbed the “MooLoo”, at a farm owned by the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology.
Those who urinated outside of the MooLoo were sprayed with water for three seconds. As part of the third stage of training, the distance from the toilet was extended, and the rewards and punishments continued.