An assistant professor at Iowa State University has proposed a solution to the inhumane overcrowding of chickens in factory farms: virtual reality headgear that convinces the birds that they’re in a free range environment.
Inventor Austin Stewart calls it “Second Livestock“. It’s The Matrix for poultry.
But the idea of animal VR may not be as far-fetched as you might think.
VR for animals is well within the realm of possibility, although with more than 10 billion animals killed for food annually in the United States (91% of which are poultry), expensive VR gear is unlikely to be the solution to humane farming.
And while free range farming is still the most practical way of reducing cruelty today, the solution ultimately lies in removing animals from the equation entirely. Vegan and vegetarian options are steadily growing in popularity. Healthy meat substitutes like Beyond Meat are delicious and indistinguishable from their animal analogs. And for those who can’t bear the thought of giving up animal flesh, there’s in-vitro meat on horizon.
In a matter of decades, livestock farming as we know it may cease to exist. And that’s a very good thing indeed.