Every day, our video team is on the ground, documenting our work for animals. Whether it’s the bleak despair of a dog meat farm in South Korea, the rescue of animals from a puppy mill stateside, undercover investigations that expose animal abuse, or the beauty and majesty of horses living their best life at the Duchess Sanctuary, our video team, made of some of the best professionals in this field, pulls these stories together in evocative visuals so we can tell them to you.
This month, taking this storytelling a step further, we began posting virtual reality videos that actually take you inside some of these situations, so you can experience exactly what we do when we are on the ground.
These are immersive, 360-degree videos that put you in the center of the action. You can watch them on your computer screen, using the mouse to interact with the screen and view every angle, or on your phone, simply by moving it right, left, up and down.
We have released three of these virtual reality videos so far, adding to our vast library of hundreds of videos we have posted online over the years, and we will be posting a new one each week.
The first video you will see is one of caretakers feeding chimpanzees at our Second Chance Chimpanzee Refuge Liberia. I traveled to that country in 2017 where I met more than the 60 chimpanzees who live here and the amazing people who care for them. These animals were used for biomedical research and endured great suffering in laboratories for decades before they were left on a group of islands in need of emergency care. Over the years it has been a joy to see them thriving in our care. I still remember vividly how exciting it was to see these animals come down from the trees to the water’s edge when the boat arrived with the food.
The second video shows the work done by our affiliate, the South Florida Wildlife Center, which rescues and rehabilitates injured and displaced wildlife before releasing the animals back into the wild. South Florida’s wildlife is being displaced by a growing population and development, and increasingly, the center sees injured and orphaned animals coming into the hospital in terrible distress. In this uplifting video you will see the wildlife center staff working to care for, treat and rehabilitate the animals at the state-of-the-art facility before they are released back into their natural habitats.
In the third virtual reality video you’ll find yourself inside a dog meat farm in South Korea.
When I viewed this video, I was transported back to the time I first visited one of these farms. The animals, crammed inside wire cages with nothing to look forward to, were so very desperate for kind human contact. The stench from the feces collected under the cages was overpowering. But so was the energy and the enthusiasm of our Humane Society International staff as they brought the animals out of their cages, stroked their fur, and hugged them. As we began to get the dogs ready for new lives filled with hope, there wasn’t a dry eye, even among this team of professionals that has handled many such rescues before.
Looking directly into the face of a delighted chimpanzee eating a banana or seeing the pain in the eyes of a dog who has never stepped outside a cage can be a truly transformational experience for anyone who cares about animals. I hope you will take the time to experience these videos and share them with family and friends. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with new videos as they are released.