The dairy industry invented yet another way to abuse cows - cutting a HOLE in the middle of the body in order to test which pasture maximizes the profits that can be made from milking them.
Hoax or Fact:
Mixture of Hoax and Facts.
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A video doing rounds over social media sites, especially via Facebook, purports to show the diary industry has invented yet another way to abuse cows - by cutting a 'Hole' in the middle of the body in order to test which pasture maximizes the profits that can be made from milking them. Yes, it is a fact that the video shows a "Fistulated Cow," but it is not a new form of animal abuse to increase milk production.
Origin of Story
On 18 April 2016 Facebook page 'Best Video You Will Ever See' posted the video in question along with the aforementioned animal abuse story. The source of their information is said to be euronews. But as a matter of fact, we have found the same video on YouTube channel of euronews (shown in this article) - it actually comes with a title - "Swiss made: cows fitted with portholes in stomach to test digestion". The video published in Feb. 2014 comes with the below description and does not mention any animal abuse story:
At Agroscope, situated in Grangeneuve, Switzerland, 14 cows have been fitted with portholes in their sides. It cuts through their left flank, permitting access to the inside of the ruminants' belly. This method makes it possible to test a more balanced pasture for the animals.
Uses of Fistulated Cows
According to a related Sep. 2014 article on Modern Farmer website modernfarmer.com, the "Rumen Fistula" is a permanent window-hole between an internal organ and the outside world, and is surgically placed into a healthy cow for collection and therapeutic reasons. As suggested in the story it is not a new procedure, but relatively old and straightforward one performed frequently at veterinary schools. Like shown in the video, a removable cap is included for easy access into the rumen of the live cow.
The Rumen Fistula in Cows is not a new form of animal abuse for increasing milk production, it helps in bovine nutrition research (studying digestive system) and more importantly, to transfer useful microbes to sick cows. The process referred to as Transfaunation involves transferring a broad spectrum of micro-organisms including bacteria, protozoa, fungi and archaea from the rumen of a healthy donor animal to the rumen of a sick recipient animal. This way the fistulated cows help in treating cows that are severely off-feed, particularly in cases of pronounced acidosis or similar digestive disturbances. And not only sick cows, they can also help sheep and goats because they share similar digestive systems.
Veterinary doctors say the fistulated cows, which come from a historically healthy herd, do really well. As shown in the second video, some of them are even exhibited as an educational opportunity for veterinary students to learn about their digestive ability and health of cattle in general.