James Gunn Nets PETA Award for Spotlighting Animal Testing Cruelty in ‘Guardians’

For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles

PETA is honoring Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director and writer James Gunn with its “Not a Number” Award for showing audiences that Rocket Raccoon’s origin story isn’t out of Knowhere—cruel, callous, and cold-blooded experiments on animals are real, and they’re happening right now.

**Caution: Spoilers below

The film is an animal rights masterpiece that tells the story of Rocket, whose early years were spent in a laboratory where he was known only as a number—a practice animal experimenters use to dissociate from the sentient being they’re tormenting. Driven to avenge his friends’ murders after escaping from the laboratory, Rocket goes on to save other animals from a similar fate. PETA wants everyone to know that we can all do the same, simply by speaking out against animal experimentation and demanding that corporations, universities, and government agencies switch to cutting-edge, non-animal research methods.

“Through Rocket, James Gunn has put a face, a name, and a personality on the millions of vulnerable animals being cycled through laboratories as we speak,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is celebrating this as the best animal rights film of the year for helping audiences see animals as individuals and suggesting that just because we can experiment on them doesn’t mean that we should.”

Like Rocket’s friends Lylla, Teefs, and Floor, most animals used in laboratories are killed after enduring a lifetime of suffering. They’re held in cramped cages, often alone, and mutilated, infected with diseases, purposely bred to suffer from debilitating conditions, forced to endure multiple painful procedures, locked into restraint devices, bombarded with stimuli for prolonged periods, and frequently denied adequate food, water, and pain relief. And even though the National Institutes of Health spends nearly $20 billion per year in taxpayer funding on animal testing, studies have shown that 95% of all new drugs that test safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials because they don’t work or are dangerous.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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