An assistant professor at Iowa State University is using an Oculus Rift headset to design a free-range, virtual-reality world for factory-farmed chickens, tricking them into thinking they are no longer stuck in tiny cages.
Austin Stewart calls “The Matrix”-like poultry project Second Livestock, riffing off the once-popular online game Second Life, according to Modern Farmer.
Stewart, who has been working on the project since 2012, admits the idea sounds far-out and that he’s unsure whether it can even be tested on chickens without harming them, the trade publication reported. But he thinks the idea will at least spur a discussion in agriculture circles about factory farming practices.
|Man, that looks like fun.|
|Roosters were much cooler|
50 years ago.
|And they'd provide dinner!|
|Foghorn Leghorn on the verge|
of chicken hawk abuse.
The free-range cultists folks should look at the situation from the chicken's point of view. A fowl who's cooped up all day might welcome meeting its fate at a SoHo bistro, while one who's living the life of Foghorn Leghorn (minus arguing with fellow barnyard denizens) would find it difficult to accept the idea of a slaughterhouse at the end of the trail.
But as for wondering if outfitting chickens with headsets is possible "without harming them" -- I think the act of stretching their necks so a sharpened blade can behead them puts that particular concern to bed pretty quickly.