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The VR Experiment That Involves Cows

How weird can the news get today? Probably not weirder than this story, which has to do with a Russian experiment involving cows and VR headsets.

Russia's Ministry of Agriculture and Food believes — based on prior research — that the amount of milk a cow produces could be tied to its anxiety level. The more relaxed a cow is, the more milk it could potentially produce.


According to the BBC, however, this theory isn't being tested by moving the cows to a nice, peaceful locale; instead, they're being strapped into VR headsets that display a "unique summer field simulation program."

Should you visit the RusMoloko farm in Moscow, you'll likely see a few cows looking as though they're ready for some Beat Saber. They're wearing specially altered VR headsets that, based on the images we've seen, make them look as though they were pulled from a futuristic sci-fi film in which humanity goes to war with highly intelligent cattle.

But the experiment thus far has worked, apparently, in bettering "the overall mood of the herd." So it's entirely possible that Russia has figured out a way to hack milk production by making its cows happier. Sure, the cows are still hanging out in stalls and generally don't have much to look forward to. But their eyes and their minds are telling them they're somewhere much nicer; somewhere with rolling green fields and a gorgeous, glowing sun over the horizon.


The experiment is set to continue long term, the BBC says in its report. And it could even expand if things go well. So if you ever visit a Russian farm in the future, don't be surprised if you see a herd of cows wearing VR headsets. They won't all be jumping into early access for Half-Life: Alyx; it's just that milk flows a little more freely when they're in a good moooood.