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Animal Activists Use Virtual Reality to Expose Factory Farms

by Montclarion News

Have you ever pictured life on a factory farm? What about as the animal about to meet its end?

Graduate business administration student Hana Alharbi tries the virtual reality simulation.
Heather Berzak | The Montclarion

Montclair Animal Activists (MAA) teamed up with the vegan activist group Vegan Outreach to hold a two-day, virtual reality (VR)-based event in the Student Center at Montclair State University.

Students could view the direct perspective of either cows, pigs or chickens during their life and death cycle through factory farming by using VR goggles.

MAA president Heather Francis said more than 140 students participated in the VR experience.

Yuri Mitzkewich, event coordinator of Vegan Outreach, believes that VR is an important tool to utilize when bringing awareness to animal cruelty,

“Instead of just giving somebody a video presentation of what is important about the issue, [virtual reality]’s more immersed so you can actually get the idea of what it’s like to be in the animal’s shoes on the farm,” Mitzkewich said.

Non-vegan Hana Alharbi, a graduate student studying business administration, was glad that she went through the VR experience.

Vegan Outreach coordinator Yuri Mitzkewich explains to students the animal cruelty virtual reality simulation.
Heather Berzak | The Montclarion

“I felt really uncomfortable watching it because I hate animal cruelty,” Alharbi said. “I’m glad to know more about this issue, and I plan to stop [animal cruelty] one day.”

Mitzkewich mentioned that roughly 30 percent of the people that watch Vegan Outreach’s VR simulation end up converting to veganism.

MAA member Eva Matusow came out to the tabling event to support Vegan Outreach and their mission to spread awareness of animal cruelty.

“It’s really important to educate yourself as much as possible because this is something that happens all the time, every day.” Matusow said. “It affects us even if we don’t see it right in front of us.”

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