Cows can be 'potty trained like children' for greener environment, says German study

a calf enters an astroturf-covered pen nicknamed "MooLoo” to urinate
a calf enters an astroturf-covered pen nicknamed "MooLoo” to urinate Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By euronews with AP
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Scientists, hoping to find new ways to prevent urine from polluting the earth, have managed to potty train cows in two weeks.


Can cows be potty trained as easily as toddlers? The answer is it may even be easier.

As part of a research project in Germany, behavioural scientists successfully toilet-trained 11 out of 16 cows.

According to study leader Lindsay Matthews, the cows developed the skill at a similar speed to children.

In just 15 days, researchers trained the animal to push through a designated gate, go into an AstroTurf-covered pen nicknamed a "MooLoo".

As the project had a tight deadline, scientists gave the cattle diuretics to get them to urinate more. Jokes aside, this venture could prevent urine from polluting the earth.

Massive quantities of urine waste are threatening the environment, especially in Europe. A single cow can produce about 30 litres of urine a day.

"When you have animals outdoors, the urea can get converted into nitrates in the soil and then go and pollute the waterways, cause all sorts of problems in the waterways," says Matthews, a scientist from New Zealand's University of Auckland who worked with colleagues on the tests at an animal laboratory in Germany.

"The nitrates get converted to nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide," he adds.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nitrous oxide comprised 7 percent of greenhouse gases in the US in 2019.

However livestock pose an even greater environmental concern: they also produce methane gas which is a major cause of global warming.

Nevertheless, this experiment has proven that it is possible to toilet train other animals and just how smart cows actually are.

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