New High-Tech Project Will Let Students See, Hear, and Feel What It's Like to Be a Small Bird Facing Trouble
For Immediate Release:
September 9, 2014
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382
Cambridge, Mass. – Most students at Harvard University have probably never considered what it feels like to be a chicken, so peta2—PETA’s youth division—is bringing the innovative, high-tech “I, Chicken” to the school’s campus. “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 the 26 million chickens slaughtered every day isn’t a walk in the park. This project was made possible by a grant fromSimpsons co-creator and noted philanthropist Sam Simon.
When: Wednesday, September 10, and Thursday, September 11, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: Outside the Harvard University Science Center, Cambridge
“Like all of us, chickens are thinking, feeling beings who want nothing more than to spend their days in peace with their families,” says peta2 Director Marta Holmberg. “Studies suggest that by allowing students to become a virtual chicken for just a matter of minutes, peta2’s ‘I, Chicken’ experience will catalyze many to stop eating chickens.”
Chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals with complex social structures, adept communication skills, and distinct personalities. On factory farms, chickens are crammed into filthy sheds and bred to grow such unnaturally large upper bodies that their legs often become crippled under the weight. At slaughterhouses, their throats are cut and millions of still-conscious birds are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.