Photo Credit: August Pelliccio
While looking through the eyes of an animal, students were given the chance to engage in a virtual reality simulation to help build a better understanding of where their food comes from.
The Humane Society collaborated with Vegan Outreach to provide students with an informative virtual reality experience in the academic quad to show how their food is really created on April 10, which they called “Do you know what you eat?”
Jesse Komaromi, the dance team coach at Southern, said she wanted Vegan Outreach to come and work with the Humane Society to show people what it is like to be an animal in the setting of factory farming, in hopes that it may offer some perspective.
“It’s a lot of people just not knowing what’s going on or trying to ignore it, so the more people we can just educate, the more people that know what their choices are doing, it just needs to be known,” said Komaromi. “Then we can make more informative decisions, you know, it doesn’t have to be like this.”
President of the Humane Society Shawn Odei-Ntiri said through events like this, he hopes to bring about awareness. He said a lot of people know what is going on, but a lot of them choose not to see it. While people do not necessarily need to become vegan or vegetarian, he said just knowing about the issue is enough.
“They don’t want to deal with the fact that they have to give up meat,” said Odei-Ntiri. “However, they don’t always have to. I think just being more so conscious and aware that these things go on in everyday lives and in our world is enough to help.”
Vice President of the Humane Society Luke McDermott Grandpre said the viewing experience of being an animal in a slaughterhouse, elicits an emotional response.
“I think just knowing about it and seeing it firsthand, like when you have food on your plate you don’t see the personal effects, but when you’re actually witnessing it you get to have a more emotional impact,” said McDermott Grandpre.
After going through the virtual reality simulation, students had mixed reactions. Chris Durand, a psychology major, said it did not change his point of view on the issue.
“It doesn’t change my perspective on it just because I’ve seen things like that before and I just think that’s how the food is made,” said Durand. “I don’t know, I’ve never been personally touched by it before, and it didn’t really change now.”
Though he was not impacted by the virtual reality, Durand said he would consider being a vegetarian because it is a healthier lifestyle.
Realistically though, he said, he will continue eating meat.
On the other hand, Paisley Tucker, a pre-vetetinary medicide major, said that being put through the virtual reality experience meant a lot for her. She said she is trying to become vegan, and the simulation made her want to make the transition more than ever before. However, she said she does not think awareness is an issue, people know what is going on in the industry and choose to ignore it.
I think it’s because it’s something that they don’t see every day, that they’re like out of sight out of mind, they’re like ‘I don’t care where this food is coming from, I’m eating it,’” said Tucker. “So, I feel like everyone knows that it happens, but if it’s not in their face, they don’t care.”