Saw this post yesterday on Twitter and am really perplexed. Check out the background story/video if you’re interested (click the picture link). If not, here’s the short version. Pig farmers in Europe are required to entertain the intelligent food animals on death row awaiting slaughter. Some folks in the Netherlands teamed up to develop an iPad app that pits humans against pigs in an interactive real-time game.
My gut instinct was, “Oh, come on… this just feels sick and wrong on multiple levels.” But after sleeping on it giving it some more thought, I’m not sure this is such a bad thing. Here’s some big-brained commentary on the matter that I ripped off the developers’ site:
“…technological design can lead to new reflection, on the importance and the meaning of central concepts such as naturalness or intelligence, but also in more direct and embodied ways, in forging new types of human animal encounters and relations.” – Clemens Driessen
“Humans and pigs have a reputation for being intelligent. Despite this, however, neither humans nor pigs seem to be able exert their cognitive abilities in the best possible ways in their modern environments… To allow for a more interesting development of (human and animal) behaviour, and to learn more about some of the processes involved, a team of designers and researchers joined together to design a game challenging the cognitive abilities of both pigs and humans.” -Marc Bracke
This game marks an exciting venture into inter-species relations. On the plus side, I can see how a person unacquainted with this remarkably intelligent animal may gain some respect and maybe think twice about the next bite of sweet and sour pork or bacon they stuff into their mouth. And imagine the future possibilities… Tic-Tac-Toe with chickens, virtual sheep herding over a fence to lull you to sleep… Soon, humanity will come to realize that animals have an inherent worth that far outweighs their caloric content- entertainment value.
So all you circus and rodeo protesters out there need to get a clue and cease and desist undermining the only hope these poor creatures have to make it in this world. Hey here’s an idea. Imagine if you can a huge arena where hungry animals are pitted against death row inmates and… oh wait, didn’t the Romans do something like that a while back?