Animal Cruelty at Factory Farms Exposed Through Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is being used to show people all sorts of things going on in the world. By immersing inside a virtual world, people are able to get a better sense for how certain things work and they’re able to envision things much better.
If used right, virtual reality can help bring awareness to a lot of issues that need awareness. One of those issues revolves around factory farms and how they treat the animals.
Jose Valle narrated a pig farming experience to help raise awareness. As Jose walks people into the experience, he says, “What I am about to show you is very difficult to experience; once you have been inside, there’s no turning back. This is your last chance to leave.”
New Documentary Investigation of Factory Farms Filmed in Virtual Reality
That eery warning is the start of a new documentary investigation created by Animal Equality and Condition One. Animal Equality is an animal protection organization and Condition One is a virtual reality production company. The experience is called Factory Farm and it was debuted at the Sundance Film Festival.
Not The First Time Factory Farms Have Been Exposed…First in VR
There has been this type of film showing animal cruelty several times before. Animal activists have consistently shown industrialized animal slaughter and the terrible effects of it for a while. Groups such as the Humane Society and Mercy for Animals have promoted undercover videos on YouTube which have helped result in new legislation, criminal charges and lots of frustrated people. This is different than any of the previous initiatives though as this is in virtual reality. The footage was captured with virtual reality cameras which enabled 360-degree views. Animal Equality VR film before this was called iAnimal.
The Experience Takes Viewer Inside The Factory Farm
iAnimal showed people what life is like through a pigs’ eyes. Factory Farm has the viewer standing next to Valle while he pictures a pig’s confinement, castration, electrocution and its eventual slaughter. VR enables us to see more inside an animal’s life whose raised to be slaughtered. The film shows the saliva hanging from the pig’s mouth while it gnaws the metal bars of its crate. It also shows the tail covered in blood of a pig that’s been castrated. You can even see the worker’s reflections in the pools of blood on the floor and then it shows their faces while they continue to work. The experience also enables people to hear the loud grinding of machinery in the slaughterhouse and the pigs squealing while people yell, push and kick them towards death. You need to wear a special VR headset in order to turn your head and watch the entire experience.
Animal Equality is showing this experience at universities across the United Kingdom and the United States.
Danfung Dennis, the Founder of Condition One, said, “Regular footage of animal cruelty just feels like you are looking at a flat window, which is easy to emotionally distance yourself from. When viewed in virtual reality, you feel you are actually inside a factory farm in close proximity to the animals.”
iAnimal and Factory Farm show footage of animals in this industry throughout the world including Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK and Mexico. Valle said, “I have been inside factory farms around the world and they are all the same. This system of abuse has been designed only in the last 50 years, but it has been replicated globally.”
Animal Equity’s Executive Director, Toni Shephard, said, “In the UK we have had some farmers and slaughterhouse workers watch the film at our events and all have confirmed that what we show is just normal practice, nothing exaggerated.”
Factory Farm and iAnimal not only show a place that people couldn’t normally see without VR, but they show a place that many people (in the slaughter industry) would never want other people to see. The New York Times said, “Factory farm operators believe that the less we know about what goes on behind their closed doors, the better for the industry.” There’s just one main missing piece now for people to seriously understand and that piece is smell. When people can smell, they will have that next level of understanding.