Bok-Bok-Bockulus Rift

Virtual Reality poultry

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.

What the cluck?!Now, if VR for chickens sounds too weird to be true, you’re right. Second Livestock is Stewart’s way of calling attention to the plight of livestock in factory farms.

But the idea of animal VR may not be as far-fetched as you might think.

Cockroaches have been deceived by a virtual forest. VR mazes powered by the Quake engine have been tested on mice. And virtual fencing for cattle ranchers is already under development.

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.

About John Doppler

Author, cruciverbalist, serial hobbyist... John Doppler blends science, art, and humor into a delicious smoothie of chaotic evil.
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One Comment

  1. I can’t believe this is cost effective in the least, given the order of magnitude – though it might make a tech support job more interesting…

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