In April 2022, reports circulated that virtual reality (VR) could soon be used in US poultry processing operations. This idea was the subject of a recent YouTube video from vegan campaigner Earthling Ed (real name Ed Winters).
Georgia Tech Research Institute announced that it would be experimenting with VR to help people who work in chicken slaughterhouses. The machines are able to kill chickens while being controlled remotely, meaning people will not have to slaughter animals with their hands. Instead, they will be able to do so while at home.
The researchers who developed the machines did so in response to the mental and physical costs of working in slaughterhouses. Such a job is, as Winters put it, “notoriously awful,” and some US operations have a turnover rate of 100 percent each year.
“With this technology you could be sitting in West Virginia, put on a VR headset, and work from the comfort of your home,” Gary McMurray, a Georgia Tech principal engineer stated. “You’re no longer tied to geography, and that’s really powerful.”
The problem with VR in slaughterhouses
While Winters acknowledged that this technology could indeed help the workers, it does not take into account the other victim: the chickens. Watch the video below to find out all the issues associated with the technology.