The virtual reality industry has grown considerably since the first full-sized headsets hit the market several years ago, but not just in the realm of gaming. VR is being used in the medical field, in the real estate industry, and even for farming and agriculture purposes.
Some of these uses are a bit more bizarre than others, and you need look no further than a recent experiment conducted by Russian farmers in Moscow for evidence of that. During the experiment, which is ongoing, farmers fitted their cows with altered VR headsets in the hopes of improving the overall “emotional mood” of their herd.
The farmers teamed up with VR developers and vets to simulate a believable (for cows) virtual summer field environment for the cows in question to enjoy. The results were promising: the cows’ behavior certainly seemed to improve, and experts noticed “reduced anxiety” among the animals.
Next, the farmers taking part in this experiment hope to test whether or not the VR headsets, and the resulting mood difference will lead to better milk production among their cattle. We don’t know when that phase of the test will begin, however.
The ethics surrounding this experiment are certainly up for debate, but there is something to be said for trying to improve the emotional welfare of farm animals. After all, many farms throughout the world are more akin to factories, and the cattle contained within don’t always live in the best of conditions.
Still, we’re curious to hear your thoughts on the matter. Whether you have moral qualms with this experiment, or you think it’s a great idea, feel free to sound off in the comments below.