Recently, PETA began taking the “I, Chicken” experience – a cutting-edge virtual reality programme – to cities and universities around the country, immersing thousands of Australians in a world where they can experience what it’s like to be a chicken.
Using wireless goggles, motion-capture cameras and a powerful computer, students watch as chickens socialise with other birds, flap their wings and take dust baths – at least until the day that the truck comes to take them to the abattoir, where they ascend a conveyor belt to their doom while they watch another conveyor belt carry the bodies of their slain friends to a waiting grocery store truck. Participants learn that life for any of the more than half a billion chickens slaughtered every year in Australia isn’t a walk in the park.
PETA’s “I, Chicken” experience elicits empathy for chickens and helps people see them as individuals with interests, wants and needs, rather than as breasts, wings and legs.
Many of the participants react strongly after their “I, Chicken” experience – including by feeling shocked, angry or sad – and some have tears in their eyes after they see how chickens live and die. Others walk away feeling inspired to make a change in their lifestyles by going vegetarian or vegan.
Here is what people are saying about “I, Chicken”:
- “I’ve been thinking about going vegetarian for a while, and this has made me want to take the next step.”
- “This is really terrible. I have even been to chicken sheds before, but this is the first time I’ve even BEEN a chicken. Now I understand how scary this is for them. I had never considered their point of view before.”
- “I love animals and want to be a vet. This has made me think about other animals that perhaps aren’t so cute or aren’t kept as pets but still deserve to be treated with respect.”
- “I get all my meals catered by the university. I think I might change to the vegetarian option at dinner. It usually looks much nicer than the meat option anyway!”
- “I felt so scared when those men from the slaughterhouse were coming towards me. I just wanted to run for my life.”
- “I’m never eating chicken again after watching that. They should be free.”
- “I didn’t know that ‘free-range’ meant chickens could still be packed into sheds. I’m really shocked to find that out. Do you have a good recipe for tofu scramble?” (Yes, we do!)
A big thank-you from PETA to all the schools, professors, student groups and students who have been involved in the tour – for working with us and for speaking up for animals! Want to help chickens and other animals exploited for food? Order your FREE vegetarian/vegan starter kit today.