PETA is rolling out a new high-tech and innovative project that’ll allow people to experience firsthand what it’s like to be a chicken.
I, Chicken couples the most cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) hardware available—including wireless VR goggles, motion-capture cameras, and a powerful computer—with guidance from leading VR psychologists in order 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 any of the 26 million chickens slaughtered every day isn’t a walk in the park.
Chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals with distinct personalities, keen communication skills, and complex social structures. On factory farms, they’re crammed by the tens of thousands into filthy sheds and are bred to grow such unnaturally large upper bodies that their legs often become crippled under their own weight. At the slaughterhouse, their throats are cut and millions of conscious birds are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.
Over the next year, PETA’s youth division, peta2, will take the cutting-edge, three-minute I, Chicken experience to more than a hundred college campuses, where thousands of young people will discover firsthand what it’s like to be a chicken—seeing their reflection, socializing with other chickens, and enjoying a dust bath. The VR experience helps people develop empathy for chickens, who aren’t seen as individuals with interests, wants, and needs but rather as producers of meat and eggs.
After the experience, a taste test of vegan “chicken” salad and free vegan starter kits will set them on their way.