Athens Scientist Appears in New Documentary on Animal Testing

Test Subjects Reveals Subtle Pressure on Graduate Students to Experiment on Animals to Earn Advanced Degrees

For Immediate Release:
December 5, 2019

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Athens, Ga. – Questioning animal experimentation is “very taboo,” says University of Georgia graduate Emily Trunnell, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is a research associate for PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. As she shares in Test Subjects—the new documentary from British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award–winning director Alex Lockwood—graduate schools foster a misguided reliance on animal testing.

This grooming of students to perpetuate animal experimentation is explored in Test Subjects, which will have a limited 72-hour public debut at TestSubjectsFilm.com, beginning at midnight on December 6. The trailer is available here.

The 16-minute documentary profiles three scientists whose lives were altered when they accepted the status quo and experimented on animals to earn their diplomas. Each had started out hoping to improve human health, but they soon realized that they were being asked to buy into an archaic system that was impeding good science.

“It started to be really apparent to me that I wasn’t doing this for … a greater good,” Trunnell states in the documentary. “I wasn’t doing it to cure any diseases. The point of me designing this experiment, which would use animals, was to get me my degree and nothing else.”

Now Trunnell works with legislators to promote animal-free science on a policy level and liaises with other scientists and journal editors to eliminate some of the most notoriously cruel and unreliable experiments on animals. “I’m so proud of the work that I do,” she says. “I feel like I’m going to be on the right side of history.”

Lockwood won the 2019 Best Short Film award from BAFTA for 73 Cows. Test Subjects made its global debut in September at Raindance, the U.K.’s largest film festival.

Trunnell is available for interviews.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—executive-produced the film and opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind