Farmers in Moscow have tried to improve the mood of their cows by using a virtual reality helmet designed specifically for them, hoping that it will also improve the quality of milk they give.
Not only can humans enjoy the experience of virtual immersion into an imaginary world - some Russian farmers believed, and did.
Ministry of Agriculture in Russia reported extraordinary cooperation between farmers, veterinarians and helmet developers of Virtual Reality (VR) - that worked together to perfectly fit a helmet Virtual Reality Designated for a cow's head. The project aims to improve the mood of cows on the farm, and of course their milk production as well. With the help of the helmet, the cows "came out" of the regular and closed farm they were in today, and miraculously "moved" to a free and open field on a bright and pleasant summer day. In addition to the physical fit to the head of the cow, helmet developers also took into account the better evidence that red cows have compared to blue and green, to ensure that the simulated reality the cow will live during the experiment is of course as reliable as possible.
The results recorded in the initial round of tests were certainly interesting - and found a relationship between the use of the helmet and a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd of cows participating in the experiment. Although it is still uncertain how much this affects milk quality, there are already more comprehensive research programs that will answer this question as well.
According to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, the experiment was inspired by the desire to focus more on the emotional well-being of farm animals, and how the emotional improvement can affect the quantity and quality of produce they provide. At the same time, the study raises a number of questions - why not simply bring cows to real fields more frequently? How to deal with battery life? And what happens to cows when they take off their helmet and re-expose it to the sad reality?
In Europe, there are already systems that promise the animals as much free movement as possible, and this seems to be another interesting (and somewhat… futuristic) move in that direction. This can be a very creative solution, for example, on farms where free and summer fields are simply not available, but cynics may say that this is a solution to the problem created by humans themselves. On the other hand, if the welfare of the cows can be helped - then why not?