The Vegans & Vegetarians Association at Oregon State University won a complex battle for freedom of speech and animal rights the evening of April 30. After waiting a month for the administration of the OSU Memorial Union to grant them a permit, Vegans & Vegetarians had been denied at the last minute permission to show peta2’s ingeniously didactic exhibit, known as I,Chicken.
According to Bridget Dillon, tour administrator for peta2, I,Chicken is a virtual-reality experience that allows people to “literally see, hear, and feel what it’s like to be a small bird looking trouble in the eye.” OSU’s Vegans & Vegetarians had counted on being able to show the installation on April 28, in order to demonstrate for students a new depth of empathy for “one of the most abused and exploited animals on the planet.” The display was created for both young and old, and contains no graphic material, Dillon added.
The OSU MU’s refusal to grant the permit for I,Chicken led to outrage on the part of peta2, who, sensing discrimination, promptly brought in their legal counsel and ensured that OSU students would get to experience the exhibit. This threat of legal action, unexpected by OSU, appears to be the reason that administrators at the university finally agreed to let Vegans & Vegetarians run the installation the following week.
The I,Chicken exhibition was finally held on May 4 at the MU Plaza at OSU. Vegans & Vegetarians were thrilled to be able to continue with the event, while MU administrators Lisa Potvin and Deb Mott were unavailable for comment.