Undercover footage has been the cornerstone of vegan activism for a long time. It is not without reason. How many of us have switched to a more ethical lifestyle after watching Earthlings?
Recent advances in technology may, however, redefine the nature of animal rights activism for years to come. Virtual reality headsets, though not particularly new to anyone, are becoming more widely available to common people. Indeed, with Microsoft VR headsets coming up in April 2017 and LG’s 360 VR headsets already on the market amongst many others, the availability of such devices is bound to increase rapidly.
In 2014, Peta launched I, Chicken, an immersive experience that gives participants an unprecedented look into the lives of chickens. Following suit, Animal Equality has come out this year with a project called iAnimal. Using footage of chickens and pigs in factory farms, a 360-degree view is created to give participants wearing virtual reality headsets an insider perspective on what goes on, including gruesome images of slaughter.
The use of augmented reality to educate people on the plight of animals is only in its infancy but it is already making a great impact. As Jose Valle, the co-founder of Animal Equality put it in an interview with Laika Magazine earlier this year, Virtual Reality has the capacity of bringing people in places where they would never go otherwise. This gives participants a greater chance to empathize with animals as they can see and feel what it is like to be in their place.
The use of Virtual Reality has a great potential to change mentalities and produce change. The iAnimal project has already started a tour of schools and universities all over the US, Germany, Italy, England, and Spain. Furthermore, the organization lends their VR headsets to animal rights groups upon demand.
If you are organizing an event and would like to get your hands on some, you can make a request here.
It will be great to see the positive impact that such projects are bound to have in the near future.