Cattle are taught to ‘use the toilet’ to stop climate change in Germany

A team of researchers has managed to train cows to use a special enclosure designed as a bathroom and empty their bladder there, with the aim of helping to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Cow urine contains nitrogen, which turns into ammonia when mixed with feces, which in turn contributes to the phenomenon of acid rain, polluting water and creating nitrogen oxides, which acts as an air pollutant, among others. environmental problems.

The experiment, the results of which have been published in the journal Current Biology, took place in Germany and had the participation of 16 cows, 11 of which learned to relieve themselves in the right place. It took the researchers just 15 days to teach the pups, convincing them with a treat to urinate in a special pen.

Until now, attempts to train cattle to go ‘service’ have been partially successful. However, these scientists have been able to show that cows are smarter than we thought and that they can control their voiding reflex, using a latrine to urinate, a behavior that can be adequately trained, indicates RT.

A co-author of the study, Lindsay Matthews of the University of Auckland (New Zealand), commented to AP that the cows “are at least as good as the children, 2 to 4 years old, at least as fast”.

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Among the limitations of the study is the use of diuretics to make cows urinate more, due to the temporal limitation of the experiments, as well as the fact that the experiment be confined to urine and not feces. However, scientists are optimistic about the latter physical need, arguing that they could also teach cows to defecate in a particular location.

In this sense, Matthews pointed out that cow urine is a more serious problem, at least in Europe, as an animal produces 30 liters of urine a day.

According to the data of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2019 nitrogen oxide accounted for 7% of all greenhouse gases in the country.

In any case, the biggest environmental problem for livestock continues to be methane, a major cause of global warming, since it is estimated that a cow produces on average the same emission of gases as a car.

Animals emit methane in the form of burping and flatulencebut, unfortunately, there is still no way to train cows in this regard. “They would explode,” Matthews explained.

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