The Texting Dairy Cow

The Texting Dairy Cow

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Dairy cows send texts via probes

The latest advancement in animal agriculture: offering cows the ability to send text messages to farmers when they are, uh, feeling amorous.
A newly developed sensor-activated device, being used by some Swiss dairy producers, is implanted into the uterus of dairy cows. As the cow goes into heat, the device sends a text message to the farmer, alerting that it’s time for artificial insemination. New York Times Swiss Cows Send Texts to Announce They’re in Heat

But why the need for such intrusive technology? The stress on cows resulting from their forced-overproduction of milk, a characteristic of today’s dairy industry, has upset cow’s metabolism, causing the animals to show fewer signs of ovulation. This is leading the traditional “visual inspection” method to become obsolete.

The use of this device is disconcerting on many fronts. It is indicative of the stress these animals’ bodies are forced to endure. Perhaps their lack of reproductive signals is a biological protection mechanism; nature has responded and their bodies are saying, “No more!” But rather than reducing the stress placed on the animals, the industry ignores nature and simply creates ways to work around it.

Another reason the texting device is so disconcerting is its symbolism: of an industry that commodifies fertility, disparages nature, and objectifies femininity.

Photo courtesy of The Digital Story