Welcome To The (Chicken) Matrix

1Image source TheAustinStewart.com

We’ve all been in those awkward situations where it’s just a bit inhumane to laugh; the need to abstain making your poorly repressed chortles escape from your lungs with even more rambunctious glee. Think: strangers tripping on curbs (I’m terrible), a friend’s Freudian slip, ill-treated chickens with teeny tiny virtual reality helmets…go ahead, try not to chuckle. If this isn’t the most hysterical thing you’ve seen all week then congratulations, your life is a veritable hoot and half.

A designer at Iowa State University came up with this ridiculously absurd (albeit slightly brilliant in a far-fetched chicken-helmet kind of way) for a project called “Second Livestock” which involves hoodwinking chickens into thinking that they are ranging free in glorious fields of wildflowers or Vegas (who knows what chickens dream about?!), while they are actually contained within the small torturous enclosures that have become the subject of many animal welfare and mistreatment documentaries and discussions. This would be achieved by strapping virtual reality or what they call a “Cockulus Rift” (really, I cahn’t with the name!) headsets onto the tiny pecking heads of farmed chickens.

The item is not currently available to farmers, but the inventor is open to working with anyone with both the capital and conscience to make it happen. Although I am deeply skeptical that 100,000 or so chicken-sized virtual reality helmets could possibly be cheaper than ponying up for a couple hundred extra roaming acres for the tender little nuggets (I really am terrible…), I do appreciate the slightly out-of-the-box approach (hah!). And hey, while I may look terrible in helmets, I would not be opposed to having live images of tropical beaches projected on the walls of my office during work hours (hint hint).

Posted by Jenna

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