WHAT IS A CANNULATED COW?
The cannula acts like a porthole and gives direct access to the cow’s rumen.
Once the cannula is surgically placed in the cow, the animals graze for a set period of time before being examined.
Farmers remove the plug and pull the grass and oat mixture from the rumen.
This material is collected and tested and this analysis shows farmers and researches which forages get the best results from the livestock, based on how much is digested.
The practice is said to have become common place in the 1920s but reports of cows being used in this way for scientific research date back to 1833.
Cows with cannulas fitted are also known as fistulated cows.
Researchers in Switzerland fitted 14 cows with cannulas in their side
Cannulas are holes that are cut directly into a cow’s digestive tract
The 8-inch (20cm) holes allow farmers to see how food is being processed
Monitoring the energy efficiency of cows can help improve farming methods and the environment.
But animal rights campaigners have criticised the activity, branding it cruel
Farmers have a wealth of technology and data at their fingertips to get the best from livestock, but one old-fashioned technique still remains.
Agroscope, in Grangeneuve, Switzerland uses the cannulated cows to test the digestion of different, experimental blends of oats to create a more balanced feed for the animals.
The cows are anaesthetised during the surgical procedure and are said to experience no pain when being examined. But animal rights campaigners claim it is abuse
An episode of Ripley’s Believe it or Not interviewed Dr. Edward DePeters from the University of California Davis.
The report claimed fistulated cows have a longer life span due to the care they are given.
The practice is not unique to Agroscope and is also performed in the U.S and across Europe.
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