Russian cows get virtual reality headsets to reduce anxiety and improve their mooood

A prototype VR headset was tested on cows at a farm in Moscow
A prototype VR headset was tested on cows at a farm in Moscow Copyright Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation
By Rachael Kennedy
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The virtual reality headsets simulate a "unique summer field" environment for the cows in a bid to reduce their anxiety and improve their mood. Do you think it will improve the taste of their milk?


A farm in Moscow has begun testing virtual reality (VR) headsets on its cows to help reduce anxiety levels among its herd.

The experiment, which was reported by Russia's agriculture ministry, has seen VR developers and veterinarians work together to adapt a headset to perfectly fit a cow's head.

It simulates a "unique summer field" environment for the user, and takes into account a cow's better perception of shades of red in comparison to weaker perceptions of blues and greens, the ministry said.

The results recorded in an initial round of testing, it added, found a link between the use of VR and "a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd".

Further effects on the actual production of milk are now set to become part of a wider and more comprehensive study with the headsets.

According to the ministry, the experiment was inspired by a greater focus on the emotional wellbeing of farm animals, and how this can affect the quantity and the quality of produce.

The study then cited examples from other countries, such as a rotary brush — something akin to the circular brushes used at an automatic car wash — that are used in the US to massage the animals.

In Europe, systems are in place to ensure the animals are given as much free movement as possible.

The statement then looked to an initiative already in place in Moscow, which sees sound equipment installed in the farms to broadcast classical music — "the relaxing effect of which positively affects milk output".

**Your view | What do you think about this experiment? Is it the strangest one you've heard of? Let us know in the comments, below. **

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