Why open a hole in the cow and often reach out and dig it? Don’t they hurt?

On farms abroad, you can always see a scene in which a cow has a hole in its body, and the hole is sealed with rubber around it, and a man will reach in and pull out a pile of paste while the cow is eating.

The whole picture looks terrible, but the cow doesn’t react at all and continues to eat like a cow. Doesn’t it hurt?

This seemingly cruel method is actually a scientific means of raising cattle, by detecting the eating of cattle, so as to better arrange the diet of cattle. If a cow is ill, it can be treated through this hole.

So the question is, how magical is the cow, just need human beings specifically to make a hole to see inside the stomach? How did the hole play? Is this hole a good thing or a bad thing for a cow?

why open a hole in the cow and often reach out and dig it? don't they hurt?

Magical bovine stomach

The cow is a very familiar animal, but also one of the earliest domesticated animals, as early as more than 10,000 years ago, our ancestors domesticated the ancestors of modern cattle. In later history, cattle made great contributions to human development.

In the era of lack of electric power machinery, cattle are the main power output, the status of cattle in farming civilization is very high, in ancient times can not be arbitrarily slaughtered cattle, and nomadic civilization, cattle are an important source of food.

So in the culture of various countries, have their own unique cow culture, China’s zodiac has cattle, India’s cattle are sacred cattle, Spain has a special cattle festival and so on.

Even now scientific means in progress, cattle no longer enjoy the original lofty status, but humans and cattle for tens of thousands of years of fetters can not be cut off, which also makes many people now cattle also want to monitor the health of cattle, the physical hole is a method.

why open a hole in the cow and often reach out and dig it? don't they hurt?

Why open a hole in a cow? because the stomach structure of cattle is too complex, once there is a problem that can not be treated from the outside, can only use this hole directly to the inside.

Cattle have four stomachs, according to the order in which grass enters are: tumor stomach, net stomach, petal stomach, and wrinkled stomach. It doesn’t matter if you can’t remember, remember it’s the belly, the money belly, the bull’s leaf, the cow’s belly.

Of these four stomachs, the last crumpled stomach is similar to the stomach of our single stomach animal, but also the stomach of the cow itself, the other three stomachs are the esophagus swelling chamber.

These four stomachs contain rich folds, there are a large number of bacteria to help digest, so why do cattle grow four stomachs? This has to be said of the strange way cattle eat.


Strange way of eating

The way the cow eats sounds a little disgusting, first of all, it is swallowed, without careful chewing, rough grass will enter the first stomach – the tumor stomach, which is the largest stomach of the cow.

The flora in the tumor stomach can break down cellulose, the upper skin of the tumor stomach can absorb the nitrogen and phosphorus potassium inside the grass, while the grass ferments in the tumor stomach and becomes soft. This time look at the second stomach – the mesh stomach, its role is mainly to filter accidentally eating in heavy objects.

For example, nails, this debris will be stored in the stomach. The grass stays in the first tumor stomach for the longest time, in the process, the cow will have to ferment the grass out again chew.


It is not until it is fully chewed that it enters the third stomach, the petal stomach, which absorbs the moisture from the food. The first three stomachs have no mucous membranes, do not secrete gastric fluid, just start storage fermentation rough absorption, all finishing work to be carried out in the last wrinkled stomach.

The mucous membranes in the crumpled stomach absorb nutrients, and at this point, the grass completes its journey in the cow’s stomach, and then enters the intestines. We always see cattle chewing in their mouths during breaks, and we can see that there is no grass around it, but this time it is the grass it ate before it chewed.

This way of eating, which eats and nauseous it further, is called ruminant. because the cattle are large, eat too much grass at a time, ruminants usually carry on for several hours. Scientists have yet to find a reasonable explanation for how cattle ancestors evolved digestive systems such as ruminants.


Open a hole in the cow

The life of a cow depends heavily on these four stomachs, and if one has a stomach lesion, it will become sick and die. the most common condition in cattle is bloating. Because cattle eat grass very fast, a lot of grass accumulates in the stomach.

The volume of the tumor stomach is 100 to 300 liters, which is rich in bacteria, can break down cellulose. Many people think that grass is a very soft plant, but it is not, grass is rich in hard silica crystals.

Also because growing low is often mixed with silt, plant animals after eating grass, it must take a long time to chew, either have a good tooth or have a good stomach.

why open a hole in the cow and often reach out and dig it? don't they hurt?

Cow teeth are not suitable for long-term chewing hard grass, so you have to rely entirely on the stomach to ferment the grass soft and then ruminant chew. Gas is produced during fermentation, and if the volume of the gas mixed with grass exceeds the gas stomach tolerance limit, the cow will begin to swell, showing a tummy tuck.

The stomach and the mesh are passable, and the gas can spread to the stomach next door, affecting other stomach work. There are many reasons for bovine bloating, bacteria disorders, unreasonable diet, eating too many fermentable foods such as beans, eating moldy grass, and so on.

In order to facilitate the observation of cattle digestion, understand the health of cattle, some veterinarians will be in the treatment of cattle bloating, in the stomach of cattle to make a hole in the cause of its bloating. In the process, veterinarians found that even if the hole had not been stitched up after the opening of the cow, it did not affect the normal feeding and rumination of the cow.

It can also stand normally. so some veterinarians simply don’t stitch the wound on the cow but install a fistula so the wound doesn’t heal. with this hole, veterinarians can observe the inside of the cattle at any time, and the life of these opened cattle is not affected.

why open a hole in the cow and often reach out and dig it? don't they hurt?

How to open a hole

This hole is said to be a surgical procedure, then anesthesia is certainly necessary because the operation process cattle can not lie down, must stand all the way, so local anesthetic must be implemented. After a local anesthetic was given to the cow, the veterinarian cut a round hole in the cow.

The location of the hole is exquisite, the four stomachs of the cow, the tumor stomach occupies 80%, the main object of observation is the grass in the stomach of the tumor, so the hole is in the 13th rib of the cow, where the closest place to the bovine stomach.

At the same time, the stomach will also be cut, with the skin of the cow sewn together, and finally, to open the hole to install fistula, the operation was successful, this opened cow called fistula cow.

why open a hole in the cow and often reach out and dig it? don't they hurt?

Fistula cattle experience a few days of pain after the drug fails, and then slowly adjust to a hole in their stomach. when it adapts, life is completely unaffected, eating normally, sleeping normally, and even running.

The hole can not be exposed to the air for a long time, otherwise, it will affect the normal digestion of cattle, non-observation time is covered with a lid on the hole of the cow. Why open a hole in the cow, but also often hand-held, is to better observe its stomach grass digestion, in fact, is also for the health of cattle.

Does the cow hurt? Sure, but not when it was pulled out, but after the surgical anesthetic failed, and the pain was short-lived. These holes in the cattle do not die because of this hole, their life expectancy is no different from other cattle.


Controversy caused by burrowing

Although cattle do not die early because of this hole, there are still many people who oppose this practice, many animal protection associations believe that this is causing mental harm to cattle, mental health, how to ensure the quality of cattle? for this reason, animal rights activists are opposed to opening holes in cattle.

In fact, the method of making a hole in the stomach to observe the gastrointestinal tract is not exclusive to cattle, people in the medical process also have, doctors will also give some gastrointestinal patients on the stomach hole, convenient gastroscopic instruments from the hole into the body to see the condition.

In essence, the cow this hole surgery and human beings are the same since people get sick can do, cattle get sick can do. Second, not all cattle have to open this hole, considering the price, cattle owners do not have so much money invested in each cow.

why open a hole in the cow and often reach out and dig it? don't they hurt?

Some gastrointestinal patients also have holes in their stomachs for treatment.

Only a small fraction of the holes are actually opened. And this opening is more like a research experiment. what’s more, most cattle are pulled out of the hole only after they have swelling.

In addition to making cattle sick, bovine gas can affect the quality of meat or milk, but also produces a lot of methane. Methane is one of the greenhouse gases, and the world’s cattle emit more than hundreds of millions of tons a year, which is released into the air through farting and hiccups in the stomachs of gas-filled cattle.

why open a hole in the cow and often reach out and dig it? don't they hurt?

Finally, this method is good to improve the quality of beef and milk, because you can always see what cattle eat and digest, cattle owners will know how to scientifically feed cattle. If a cow has a stomach disorder, it can transplant the herd of healthy cattle to a diseased cow. Or ask the veterinarian to add the flora directly.

This fistula cattle currently accounts for only a small part of the farm, and the holes are all open for the health of cattle, there is no abuse of cattle. And because the quality of the cattle bred in this way is better, no country or region explicitly prohibits opening holes in the cattle.


Opening the hole revelation

The farmed cattle are not as strong as we thought. Now the ancestors of domestic cattle are raw cattle, raw cattle are much larger than domestic cattle, most of the world’s cattle are farmed.

All human-bred cattle are screened, the only criterion at the time of screening is in line with human interests, to meet human requirements, long-term breeding conditions, resulting in the current human cattle genetic diversity is not high, there is an inbreeding phenomenon.

They are generally much smaller than their wild ancestors, the farmed cattle have poor resistance, are sick, and don’t expect it to be good, the opening of the hole was originally from the veterinarian for the treatment of cattle. Opening a hole in a cow’s body to install a fistula is actually the last resort.


This approach is extremely expensive and must be maintained at all times and does not currently support the large-scale roll-out. Over the years, cattle have been linked to global warming, with more than 100 million cattle worldwide, stating that it is the heaviest living thing on earth.

As research has found that they emit as much methane and carbon dioxide gas each year as a human industry, how to raise cattle scientifically becomes an environmental protection link. Holding cattle helps relieve the bloating of cattle and monitors their digestion in order to control their greenhouse gas emissions.

It can be said that the opening of this behavior, just short pain, after the cattle caused by a series of problems for cattle owners is long pain, now all countries are standardized cattle, the purpose is to control carbon emissions if the cost of opening a hole one day is lower than the environmental tax per cow, estimated to see a full farm running fistula cattle.


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