Categories: News

Why did a Turkish farmer put VR headsets on his cows?

It seems like a bit from a standup comedy set: dairy cows hanging out, watching scenes on virtual reality headsets, merrily lactating. But for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Russia and, more recently, a Turkish farmer named Izzet Kocak, this scene was no joke: They believed the VR headsets, displaying imagery of a sunlit pasture versus grim indoor enclosures, instilled in the cows a sense of happiness and, as a result, caused them to produce more milk. Kocak, who previously played classical music for his herd, was so pleased with the results on a pair of his own dairy cows that he planned to buy 10 more headsets. But as technology and animal welfare experts explain in Vice, the reality is far less rosy. It’s unclear if the goggles are calibrated for “cow vision,” but also whether cows, who are often housed indoors all year, would even know what the pasture they’re looking at actually is. One scientist hypothesized that, in the end, the light from the smartphones was the real cause of the milk production boost. —Matthew Sedacca

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