Russian Farmers Put Cows in VR So They Can Chill

An experiment straps virtual reality headsets onto dairy cows to let them de-stress, and yield more milk.
Cow wearing a VR headset.
Image via Ministry of Food and Agriculture of the Moscow Region

After decades of predictions on whether it can survive as a consumer technology, virtual reality has mainly been adopted by gamers, hornballs, artists, and horny gamer artists.

But Russia is onto something very different in the world of VR. A program by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region is slapping VR headsets onto a herd of cows, to calm them down and help them produce more milk.


The images are so pure.

Stressed-out cows yield less milk and have lower appetites than when they're chilled out. Farmers around the world try to relax cows using brushes, classical music, and generally being more gentle with the herd. If this experiment works, they might be able to add VR headsets to those de-stressing strategies.

According to a description of the program from the Ministry, cows were outfitted with special VR headsets designed specifically for their anatomy. The content—a calm summer field—was adjusted for cows' vision spectrums, as they see shades of the red part of the spectrum more strongly than green and blue tones.

Experts studying the results of this experiment recorded a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd, the Ministry reports.