Web developer Mark Middleton created AnimalVisuals.org to help expose the conditions animals face in factory farms through interactive, illustrated recreations from the animal’s perspective.
AnimalVisuals has only one “virtual environment” so far: the egg-laying hen’s battery cage. Complete with a sountrack recorded inside an actual factory farm, viewers are invited to read factual information about the intensive confinement at the bottom of the screen.
The Virtual Battery Cage puts the viewer in the place of the bird in hopes that the person will be able to empethize with the animal. The scenery is grim, the cage is ridiculously small, and the sound is overbearing.
Last year, I had the opportunity to visit a factory farm much like the one depicted on Middleton’s site. I can tell you that this simulation is accurate in many ways, but you’re going to miss out on one important aspect: the stench.
Outside the building, there was a pile of manure at least 10 feet high. If you’re not able to empathize with the plight of a chicken, please at least take into consideration the impact that the factory farming of chickens and other animals has on the environment.