- On July 17, 2017
Undercover investigations conducted by The HSUS and other animal organizations have been enhanced by a new tool to document the cruelty and suffering rampant on factory farms across the world. Until recently, grainy photos and shaky videos shot with handheld cameras were the primary yield from undercover animal welfare operations. This has left animal welfare groups vulnerable to charges of framing these operations the way they want the public to see them. Enter virtual reality (VR) video.
The use of VR to document undercover animal welfare operations was pioneered by the group Animal Equality, whose iAnimal films seek to provide enhanced, 360-degree experience of what life is like for animals in extreme confinement on a factory farm. The ability to pan the video over 360 degrees puts to rest the claim that such videos only focus on what the filmmaker wants the public to see.
A recent undercover operation at a Smithfield-owned pig farm documents the extreme confinement of sows in gestation crates. The video is embedded below. Be sure to use the pan feature while watching.
The HSUS debuted a VR video shot on a South Korean dog meat plant at its 2017 Animal Care Expo earlier this year. Several challenges exist with a broad distribution of these videos. There are the technical and logistical challenges of sneaking in the bulky equipment needed for high-quality VR videos into barns and processing facilities.
But the larger challenge is providing the equipment required to view VR videos to a far-reaching audience. It’s hoped that advances such as mobile apps that can closely approximate the VR experience will allow for more widespread distribution in time.
Read more about virtual reality videos on factory farms on nytimes.com.