Scientists in New Zealand and Germany are toilet-training baby cows in a program designed to treat cow urine in a more sustainable way.
Cow urine has a high concentration of nitrate, a substance that, as it breaks down in contact with soil, leads to land contamination and pollution of nearby waterways if not managed properly. It also produces nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. “If we could collect 10% or 20% of urinations, it would be sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nitrate leaching significantly,” said Douglas Elliffe, a professor of psychology at the University of Auckland who helped design the program.
The toilet-training program for calves isn’t dissimilar to how young children are potty-trained. In a trial of 16 cows, researchers rewarded the animals with food when they successfully urinated in a specific latrine pen, called a “MooLoo.” However, if the cattle let go too early, they were squirted with cold water. Read more at the link in bio. (via @bloomberggreen)
📷: Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology