Test Subjects Reveals Subtle Pressure on Graduate Students to Experiment on Animals to Earn Advanced Degrees
For Immediate Release:
December 5, 2019
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Cleveland – Most animal studies “do not reflect human biology, human physiology, and so much so that 95% of the time when a drug tests safe and effective in animals, it turns out not to be true in humans,” says Case Western Reserve University graduate Frances Cheng, who has a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics and is a senior science adviser for PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. But 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.
When she questioned animal experiments, Cheng remembers that one professor told her, “Your job as a Ph.D. student is to graduate. It’s not your job to think about this.” She adds, “All of the senior scientists, they don’t know the answer either. They are just being trained in using animals so long that they either kid themselves into believing it or they just sort of hold on to this last hope that it will help humans somehow, someday.”
Cheng now works with food companies, universities, and regulatory bodies around the world to end animal experiments.
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.
Cheng 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.