Scene from iAnimal (Image: Animal Equality)
This Virtual Reality Slaughterhouse Film Shows The Distress Of Farmed Pigs
As the mantra reads: 'If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian' – but of course they don't and most people remain unaware of the lives and deaths of animals reared for food.
In an effort to educate people on the horrors of mass-production Animal Equality have launched a campaign to give carnivores a firsthand look at the meat industry.
iAnimal uses virtual reality technology to transport people inside factory farms and slaughterhouses so they can witness the practices that are "deliberately hidden" from public view.
It aims to shine a light on the way animals are raised and killed for food on modern farms so that consumers can make informed choices about the food they buy.
Most people cry during the course of the video, explains Toni Shephard, Executive Director of Animal Equality," and that is a normal human reaction to witnessing animal suffering."
"Few people know how pigs are treated on modern farms; people thought many of them still lived outdoors where they can root and take mud baths - sadly this is now very rare."
Despite common assumptions, all of the footage in the film is taken in farms and slaughterhouses in the EU, including Germany, Spain and Italy - with some from farms in the UK.
Over half of imported bacon, sausage and ham sold in England comes from other EU countries, "so everything that happens in our film is directly relevant to meat consumers in the UK," Shepard says.
"Many people said they would not eat meat again after watching the film."
Eating meat isn't necessarily a conscious decision but rather a cultural tradition imposed upon us by our parents as the social normal, Shepard explains, by the time we grow up it's just "what we do".
Although most people are inherently opposed to animal suffering, the meat industry does an incredible job of keeping this hidden away inside windowless sheds and isolated slaughterhouses.
Through the lenses of a virtual reality headset however, viewers can feel like they are inside the slaughterhouse, trapped alongside all the other animals, and ultimately, sharing their fate.
"You stand next to a mother pig as she gives birth for the sixth time to piglets who will soon be taken away from her," Shepard evokes, "You experience the extreme confinement of birthing crates."
"You witness the daily suffering that takes place inside a pig farm. You are right there when they take their last breath."
The immersive experience will be touring town centres and university campuses over the spring and summer period – with an added clip of caged hens and broiler chickens.
Can you make it through the whole 360 degree video? Try it below.
By Matthew Kirby, published on 09/03/2016