People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is going on the attack with a new tactic against SeaWorld.
In the past couple weeks we saw Amnesty International launch a VR experience to raise awareness for war-torn Syria and RYOT’s VR movie touch a chord with footage from the Nepal earthquake aftermath. Virtual reality is proving to be a perfect medium for empathy by transporting users to actual locations or letting them experience a unique POV. With that, PETA has taken the cue and is going on the offensive with their latest virtual reality empathy project.
In what PETA is calling the “I, Orca” summer virtual reality tour, volunteer teams will hit street corners near SeaWorld with a VR experience on Google Cardboard headsets. The three-minute VR presentation will allow people to get the sensation of taking a virtual swim in the ocean with animated orcas and also experience the despair of having an orca offspring ripped away from his mother.
Actress Edie Falco provides the voice of a killer whale mother who sadly talks about how one of her offspring was captured and is imprisoned by SeaWorld.
“I recognize my own baby’s call. Any mother would. SeaWorld has him,” she says in a heartbroken voiceover. “He’s in this awful place, deep inside this hard wall, they have stolen his life, torn us apart and put him in a concrete box filled with chemically treated water.”
PETA will bring the experience to the Orlando, Florida SeaWorld from June 18-26, trying to hit the highest trafficked tourist corners. The campaign started last week near the San Diego, California SeaWorld and PETA has additional plans to visit major cities all over the United States.
Whether one may agree with PETA’s VR approach to addressing SeaWorld, immersive experiences like this can help build empathy for important causes. Whether or not it is empathy for marine animals or empathy for humans who need aid relief, virtual reality can change how people behave and feel after being fully immersed in a new experience.