We have all heard the line that there is no such thing as a stupid question. But on the ASU campus, students have found one. They are asking what do chickens see, hear, and feel before they wind up in Arizona State University dining halls?
And peta2, PETA’s youth division, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” has the answer. They are presenting the high-tech “I, Chicken” virtual reality (VR) experience to campus today, hosted by student group VegAware.
“I, Chicken” was made possible by a grant from The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon. The project uses cutting-edge wireless VR goggles, motion-capture cameras, and a powerful computer to immerse participants in a world where they can flap their wings, communicate with other chickens, take dust baths, and engage in other natural chicken behavior. But as participants soon learn, life for the 26 million chickens who are slaughtered for food every day in the U.S. is no walk in the park.
Previous stops on the “I, Chicken” tour include Princeton University, where one student shared a powerful response to the experience. “It’s so hard to empathize with animals when we interact so little with our food,” she said. “This is probably one of the more effective ways of getting information out to people who … would be likely to want to be vegetarian if they had just one experience where they were interacting in an empathetic way with animals.” Smith College students agreed. “It impacted me a lot to see the world from the perspective of a chicken,” one said. “This made me feel kind of sad .… Life is just not very good for the chickens.” Another said, “It was really shocking and kind of horrifying.”
Where: Hayden Lawn, Arizona State University, Tempe
When: Friday, February 6, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.