‘I, Chicken’ Virtual Reality Experience Aims to Radically Develop Empathy for Animals

PETA’s Latest Innovation Lets People See, Hear, and Feel What It’s Like to Be a Small Bird Facing Trouble

For Immediate Release:
September 2, 2014

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Los Angeles, Calif.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—is rolling out a new high-tech and innovative project that will 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 that outperform the popular Oculus Rift, 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.

PETA is taking the cutting-edge, nongraphic, three-minute I, Chicken experience to dozens of college campuses, starting in California, and your attendance is invited. PETA’s youth division, peta2, will be at the University of California–Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on Wednesday, September 3, and in front of Pasadena City College’s Student Center on The Quad on Thursday, September 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days.

“Like all of us, chickens are thinking, feeling beings who want nothing more than to spend their days in peace with their families,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Studies suggest that by allowing participants to become a virtual chicken for just a matter of minutes, PETA’s I, Chicken experience will catalyze many of them to stop eating real chickens.”

The I, Chicken college tour is the first time that VR has ever been available at no cost to the public in order to promote empathy for animals. PETA’s goal is to achieve what religions and cultures have been striving to do for millennia: to develop compassionate action for the common good.

Chickens are inquisitive 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. At the slaughterhouse, their throats are cut and millions of still-conscious birds are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.

For more information, please visit PETA.org or click here.

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