Groundbreaking ‘I, Chicken’ Virtual Reality Experience Flies Onto University of Vermont Campus

Simpsons Co-Creator's Project Lets Students Feel Like a Chicken About to Be Slaughtered

For Immediate Release:
October 2, 2014

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Burlington, Vt. – If University of Vermont students knew what it felt like to be a chicken in a slaughterhouse, would they still choose a chicken sandwich at the dining hall? That’s what peta2, PETA’s youth division, aims to find out with the sophisticated “I, Chicken” virtual reality (VR) experience, which immerses participants in a world where they can flap their wings and make friends with other inquisitive, communicative chickens—that is, until they’re grabbed and sent to slaughter.

When:             Friday, October 3, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Where:           Rosa Parks Room, Davis Center, University of Vermont

The University of Vermont is the next stop on the “I, Chicken” tour. Previous stops include the University of California–Berkeley—where one student described the experience of being in a slaughterhouse this way: “[Y]ou see all the dead bodies passing you by, it makes you feel uncomfortable.” And another student said, “[Chickens are] like humans. They feel pain.”

“I, Chicken” uses cutting-edge wireless VR goggles, motion capture cameras, and a powerful computer and was made possible by a grant from Simpsons co-creator and noted philanthropist Sam Simon. Simon and peta2—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—aim to instill empathy for the 26 million chickens who are slaughtered for food every day in the U.S. alone. These birds’ throats are cut, and millions of still-conscious birds are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind