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05/19/2014

Virtual Reality for factory farm chickens, would they be better off?  »

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Austin Stewart, an assistant professor in Iowa State University’s College of Design, is getting a lot of attention for his recent project Second Livestock. The project proposes fitting factory farmed hens with devices to give them a “virtual free range” experience. Apparently it’s a joke, or rather a “social experiment” as sites like TechCrunch are calling it. Stewart did an interview with the Ames Tribune on the project, stating, “The goal of the project is to raise that question of how do we know what’s best, or what is humane treatment, and also to look at how we treat ourselves. We’re living in these little boxes, just like chickens.”

I can’t tell if he’s trying to sound dumb or if they just aren’t going about quoting him very well. But the Second Lifestock site is very thought-out, so I wonder if he’s not just fucking with his interviewer to keep the whole thing vague. I suspect, or hope, that the project is actually a satire of the lengths people will go to to maintain industrial farming. However, at the moment, Stewart doesn’t shed much light on the realities of factory farming. Maybe that’s to come?

What are your thoughts? 

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