How to toilet train your cow

And save the planet at the same time | Science & technology

9/18/2021 12:36:00 PM

Cow urine produces ammonia, which in turn is converted into nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas

And save the planet at the same time | Science & technology

.Cow urine contains urea, a nitrogen-rich compound that, when broken down by enzymes in cow faeces, is converted into ammonia. Bacteria in the soil, in turn, convert that ammonia into nitrous oxide. Best known as a dental anaesthetic, the stuff is also a potent greenhouse gas. And agriculture is a big source of it. In the European Union, livestock farming accounts for around 70% of ammonia emissions.

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Collecting and treating cow pee before the ammonia can be produced might, therefore, seem like a good idea. But it has proved difficult in the past without confining the cows to small areas, which is bad for their welfare. As Dr Langbein describes inCurrent Biology

, this conundrum could be solved if free-roaming cows could be persuaded to voluntarily relieve themselves in a latrine.But going to the loo is a tricky business, says Dr Langbein. It requires awareness of bladder fullness, self-control to override excretory reflexes, selection of a latrine, and intentional relaxation of the muscles which control the flow of urine. Nevertheless, he has developed a three-stage process to help cows master toilet training.

The first job was to establish the latrine as the correct place to conduct business. Calves were confined to a latrine and rewarded with molasses or crushed barley after peeing in it. Next, they were given the freedom to roam around an alley outside the latrine. Urinations in the latrine were rewarded; those in the alley were gently punished with a spray of water. Finally, the alley that led to the latrine was extended, to allow the animals to practise self-control for longer, and over a greater distance.

Cows are fairly intelligent animals, and the lessons proved quite effective. Of the 16 calves enrolled in the training process, 11 were considered successfully toilet-trained by the end of it. Their overall performance, say the researchers, was roughly comparable to that of human children. The animals managed to pee in the latrine around 77% of the time.

Dr Langbein is optimistic that his methods can be improved further. One step would be to extend the principle to faeces, which also contains nitrogen, and is another source of nitrous oxide. The effectiveness of the training could be boosted too, perhaps with longer-lasting lessons, or by making adjustments to rewards and punishments. He notes that the success rate increased after repositioning the water-sprayer used to punish errant animals. Four out of eight calves were successfully trained before it was moved, compared with seven out of eight afterwards—though the small sample size means this difference is not statistically significant. More research, as always, is required.

The next step, says Dr Langbein, is to see if cattle on a working farm can be similarly trained. Whether farmers will be keen is another question. Building toilets and training animals costs time and money, after all. But when it comes to climate change, every little helps.

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■An early version of this article was published online on September 15th 2021 Read more: The Economist »

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There's a president in Africa I know news like this will gladden his heart and he'll be so proud that at least he's always on the side of the cows 🐮 If DilipGhoshBJP had said this he would have been a laughing stock by the Indian media. This is a typical “sadda kutta kutta todda kutta Tommy” kind of mentality of many Indians and our media fraternity. BJP4Bengal BJP4India DrSukantaBJP

Holy Cow or just call Bulls**t on the story :) riveting journalism Planet gonna be just fine 🌍 its humans that need saving and chances of that happening are slimmmmm “Good” 🥸🧐 Let the cows be as nature intended it. Don't interfere in their natural habits. Encourage people to eat less meat that's bad for cardiovascular health and the environment due to CH4 emissions and dung runoff to water bodies aside from cows using up colossal amounts of water/grain

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Cows Can Be Toilet Trained, A New Study Suggests. This Has Implications For The Environment And Animal Welfare“Many people think cattle are stupid because they are just grazing all the time,” said author Lars Schrader, a professor at the Institute of Animal Welfare and Animal Husbandry in Germany. “Irrespective of their behavior, which seems quite lazy, they are very intelligent animals.” 💢I heard when they potty train them,it puts them in a bad MOOOOD.😐 nice Groundbreaking!

10/10 Bull calves still missed the actual toilet 50% of the time. Yes if you want to have them as pets A better success rate than senior Aust LNP members. Don’t think my toilet could take it How to successfully turn around the cow from the Atom Heart Mother artwork. … Nebino oba bikulu? Wish dog owners would train their dogs too!


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Plant based diet is healthier vs eating animals animals, see nutrition_facts 🌱 پاکستان کے تمام مذہبی جماعتوں نے مفتی عزیزالرحمان صاحب کے خلاف دہشتگردی کے دفعات کو مسترد کیا ہے. انہوں نے کہا ہے کہ مفتی صاحب ایک مجاھد ہے جو پاکستان میں اسلامی نظام چاہتے ہیں اور ہم سب ان کے ساتھ ہیں اورپاکستان میں انگریزی نظام کے ختم ہونے تک جھاد جاری رہے گا. اللہ اکبر.

No shit I haven't got a cow. Damn it, not Pink Floyd. Thought you finally talking about something interesting. The idea that cows are big, dumb slabs of walking meat has been perpetuated by the beef industry who do not want the public to see that they are harvesting intelligent and emotional beings for profit. Emotional beings can feel happiness, sadness and fear....

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Dear Germans, I Love You But Please Explain Yourselves On These 16 PointsWhy do your toilets have a poop shelf? Older Version, but your butt doesnt get sprayed if you take a dump, which is more sanitary instead of getting your butt waterboarded by toilet water ^^

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