It's been reported that there are a few cows in Moscow who were among the first to try new virtual reality ("VR") headsets that have been specially designed to reduce anxiety and improve milk production. Inside the VR goggles are visions of a “unique summer field simulation” to have the cows thinking they’re frolicking around in their own personal paradise.
“According to an analysis of the welfare of dairy cattle by Wageningen University employees in the Netherlands, environmental conditions have a significant impact on cow health and, as a consequence, the quality and quantity of milk produced”. Moscow's Ministry of Agriculture and Food cited research which they say has shown a link between a cow's emotional experience and its milk yield.
It's another example of the drivers, mutual benefits, and science associated with "happy animals". While there will undoubtedly be those who have continued concerns about the motivation which, in this instance, appears to be greater production from commodity animals, it nonetheless appears as a step forward in recognition that there are significant merits in people taking responsibility for providing animals with "positive states" i.e. the animal's comfort, interest and pleasure.
It's also further evidence that it's time for the law to catch up with science and public expectations by moving beyond a focus just on an animal's pain and distress, by applying re to the human caregiver to provide animals with opportunities to have positive life experiences.