’Cow toilets’ in Netherlands aim to cut e-moo-ssions

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Cows stand in a field near the village of Hargimont, Belgium August 11, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Courtesy: (Hanskamp)
Updated 31 March 2019

’Cow toilets’ in Netherlands aim to cut e-moo-ssions

  • The Netherlands is already introducing stricter rules on emissions of ammonia, which can cause atmospheric pollution and irritate the eyes in humans

THE HAGUE: Teaching cows to use the toilet is not the easiest task, but a Dutch inventor is banking on a new bovine urinal to help cut emissions that cause environmental damage.
Tests have started on a farm in the Netherlands on the device which collects some of the 15 to 20 liters of urine that the average cow produces a day.
That produces huge amounts of ammonia in a country like the Netherlands, which is the world’s second biggest agricultural exporter after the United States.
“We are tackling the problem at the source,” Henk Hanskamp, the Dutch inventor and businessman behind the “Cow Toilet,” told AFP Friday.
“A cow is never going to be completely clean but you can teach them to go to the toilet.”
The way the toilet works is “udderly” ingenious.
The urinal is in a box placed behind the cow, while in front is a feeding trough. Once the animal finishes eating a robot arm stimulates a nerve near the udders, which then makes it want to urinate.
The cow toilets are currently being tested on a farm near the eastern Dutch town of Doetinchem and seven of its 58 cows have already learned how to use them without the need for stimulation.
“The cows have got used to it,” Hanskamp said. “They recognize the box, lift their tail, and pee.”
“The stables have become cleaner and the ground is drier. Less damp ground is better for the health of the cows’ hooves,” Jan Velema, a vet who took part in the tests, was quoted as saying by De Volkskrant newspaper.
The Netherlands is already introducing stricter rules on emissions of ammonia, which can cause atmospheric pollution and irritate the eyes in humans.
The chemical can also be implicated in the creation of environmentally damaging algae blooms when it mixes with water.
Hanskamp, whose company develops agricultural machinery, says it could “reduce by at least half the amount of ammonia produced” were the cow to urinate on open ground.
The company aims to have them on the market by 2020, he said.
 


Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

Updated 08 December 2019

Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

MIAMI: The move was bananas ... or maybe the work was just too appealing.
A performance artist shook up the crowd at the Art Basel show in Miami Beach on Saturday when he grabbed a banana that had been duct-taped to a gallery wall and ate it.
The banana was, in fact, a work of art by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Comedian” and sold to a French collector for $120,000.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, David Datuna, who describes himself as a Georgian-born American artist living in New York, walks up to the banana and pulls it off the wall with the duct tape attached.
“Art performance ... hungry artist,” he said, as he peeled the fruit and took a bite. “Thank you, very good.”
A few bystanders could be heard giggling before a flustered gallery official whisked him to an adjoining space for questioning.
But the kerfuffle was resolved without a food fight.
“He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, director of museum relations for Galerie Perrotin, told the Miami Herald.
As it turns out, the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity, the newspaper said. The banana is meant to be replaced.
A replacement banana was taped to the wall about 15 minutes after Datuna’s stunt.
“This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we’re not into spectacles,” Terras said. “But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces.”
Cattelan is perhaps best known for his 18-carat, fully functioning gold toilet called “America” that he had once offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
The toilet, valued at around $5 to $6 million, was in the news again in September when it was stolen from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill, where it had been on display.