It’s been well documented that the raising of livestock carries an environmental impact.
Besides releasing methane, cattle are also known to have high levels of nitrates in their urine, which contaminate air and water.
Research teams in New Zealand and Germany are taking an unorthodox approach to limiting these pollutants.
They’re attempting to “potty train” young calves.
Using a device called the MooLoo, cattle are trained to enter a bright green pen and are rewarded with food after urinating.
The scientists say the calves are about as reliable as young children, and can learn to self-initiate the use of the MooLoo after about 15 days.
A report in New Atlas calls it “an intriguing proof of concept” but asks whether it can be scaled.
According to the team, if even a fraction of the waste output of cattle were collected, it could make a difference in the environment.