You can rent a farm animal to lighten up your next Zoom call. Here's how

Bring a Llama to Work Day has never been easier.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
2 min read

Who's that hairy Zoom guest?

Peace N Peas

Videoconferencing with services like Zoom , Microsoft Teams and Google Meet has become the main way many people are staying connected during the coronavirus pandemic. People have found ways to make business meetings and calls to family and friends on the platform and other video chat apps more interesting, adding zany backgrounds and beauty filters. One more Zoom trend is starting to emerge: adding a farm animal to your call. 

Peace N Peas Web Solutions, a website design studio in North Carolina run by Peace N Peas Farm, is letting Mambo, a mini donkey, dial into Zoom conference calls for 10 minutes at a rate of $50. Customers can also rent Eddie the horse, ducks and chickens. To book an animal for your next business meeting or happy hour, you only need to find a date on the site's calendar. If it's open, you can book Mambo or another barnyard guest with a credit card or PayPal.  

"So far everyone is enjoying the calls, because people are just surprised to see a funny horse or donkey whey they expect to participate in yet another boring meeting," Francie Dunlap of Peace N Peas Farm says.

Dunlap said the group got the idea from Sweet Farm, a sanctuary in Silicon Valley. Sweet Farm has a program called Goat-2-Meeting where you can pay $100 to have llamas, goats or other farm animals make a cameo in your next meeting. Dunlap said Peace N Peas is looking forward to bringing Mambo and others into classrooms.

Want to invite a farm animal to your next video conference or chat with family or friends? Go to the Peace N Peas Farm website, and scroll down to the calendar. Select the date and time you want, and enter your payment information (you can cancel for a full refund 48 hours before your scheduled time, or reschedule after that) and your virtual meeting link. 

Or, visit Goat-2-Meeting's site, and schedule a virtual tour or a video cameo by clicking Schedule Your Goat-2-Meeting and selecting the option you'd like, and entering your payment information and virtual meeting link there too. 

If you use Zoom, it's important to take into consideration the security issues that have come to light since its rapid rise in popularity during the pandemic. Privacy experts have expressed concerns over the videoconferencing software's privacy risks and vulnerabilities, as well as Zoombombing (when uninvited attendees break in and disrupt meetings). The New York City Department of Education recently told teachers to stop using Zoom in favor of Microsoft Teams while security threats are addressed by the company

Watch this: Zoom privacy: How to keep spying eyes out of your meetings

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