I’m too old and “untechnized” to understand what “virtual reality” is. All I know from what I read is that “VR” is “fake life” in the extreme. Folks say VR can be more exciting than real life — or more relaxing than real life.
Well, for what it’s worth, I read last week about a farmer in Turkey (the country, not the bird) who claims to have induced a couple of his milk cows to produce more milk by fitting them with “customized bovinized” VR goggles. He keeps the cows indoors in a barn, but he claims the VR goggles give his cows the illusion of being outside. Essentially, the farmer has purchased virtual reality headsets to make his cooped-up cows think they’re outside in a meadow.
He claims the high-tech headgear makes his cows happier. This, in turn, means they produce more milk. He says the move is already paying off. He’s put the headsets to two of his cows and noted that milk production went up from 22 liters to 27 liters a day.
The farmer claims the cows’ “virtual vision of watching a calm, serene, verdant green pasture gives them an emotional boost.” Thus, they are less stressed and produce more milk.
The innovative farmer has previously used classical music to try and soothe his cattle. But he says he’s been so impressed with the headsets, he plans to buy 10 more.
The headsets were developed with veterinarians and first tested on a farm in Moscow. Russian farmers worked with developers, vets and consultants at a farm near Moscow to beam the cattle a simulation of a summer field.
Now, I have my doubts about using VR to increase farm animal efficiency. But, if it’s true, then how long before we see crowded cattle in feedyards with VR headsets making them think they are knee-deep in Flint Hills native grasses, or confined hogs with VR headsets thinking they are outdoors rooting in a thick stand of tasty alfalfa, and chickens in hen houses or cages wearing tiny VR goggles to make them think they are happily scratching around in a free-range setting? That would really upset PETA.
Or what about urban pet dogs, cooped up in high-rise apartments, wearing VR goggles to think they are enjoying a romp at a dog park? Or, pet cats wearing VR goggles to make-believe they are outdoors catching song birds and mice?
Heck, I might even wear VR goggles when I have to go to a big urban center to make myself believe I’m still at home in the Flint Hills.
Along the same unusual vein, I read that a 109-year-old lady in Italy attributes her longevity to eating Big Mac hamburgers almost every day.
I like that kind of a real world successful dietary example as compared to all the anti-red meat research done in high-powered labs — or selling “fake meat.”
A third unusual item is for sure …….