PETA visits campus

By Nicole Housh

If you ever have wondered what it is like to be an animal, PETA is traveling to college campuses all across the nation to give students the ability to know just that.

PETA brought their virtual reality experience to Cal Poly Pomona Wednesday as one of their final stops on their college campus tour.

The animal rights organization is touring colleges across the nation showing “I, Chicken,” a short film that transforms viewers into a chicken for three minutes. “I, Chicken” is the first virtual reality experience to utilize a non-human avatar.

When wearing a virtual reality helmet, viewers can see what the life of a chicken is really like. However, the film eventually turns eerie, as viewers are exposed to how chickens are slaughtered and ultimately become victims.

“Chickens are one of the most abused animals on the planet,” says Caroline Gardner, a PETA representative. “Out of the 10 billion land animals that we kill in the United States every single year, 9 billion of them are chicken. I think it’s important for people to view them as the individuals that they are.”

The virtual reality experience immerses the viewer into a chicken’s world. While the concept of being slaughtered at the end of the film may seem gruesome and aggressive on PETA’s behalf, it actually is not like that at all. The film plays the role in opening the eyes of the viewer more than anything.

PETA’s innovation team found that people respond more to positive experiences than negative ones, so they aimed to make the video as pleasant as possible while also showcasing the sadness that is necessary for “I, Chicken” to affect change.

CPP students walking through campus by the Bronco Student Center and the University Library stopped at the tent to watch the video.

“I think [animal rights] is an issue we should all become more aware about,” said second-year hospitality management student Marlon Rodriguez. “I think this is a great way to maybe open my eyes a little bit.”

PETA has traveled to over 150 college campuses during their “I, Chicken” tour including Harvard University, Stanford University and Brown University.

“The response is overwhelmingly positive,” said Bridget Dillon, a PETA representative. “Students are shocked to find out the 1.2 million chickens are slaughtered every hour in the United States.”

There are no federal laws that protect chickens. PETA is out on a mission to fight for the animals that are unable to stand up for themselves.

“Being able to educate people and take them through this experience is just overwhelmingly positive,” said Dillon. “Normally, people are very receptive and wanting to try some new foods after going through [the tent].”

PETA is working on another virtual reality tour, which will premiere within the next few weeks.

“Virtual reality is a really powerful way to reach people and build behavior change,” said Dillon.


Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post


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