New Documentary Exposes Secretive Grooming of Grad Students to Experiment on Animals

BAFTA Award–Winning Director’s Test Subjects to Debut Online for Limited Time

For Immediate Release:
December 4, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

“Don’t question why you’re killing animals—just get your degree”: Test Subjects, the new documentary film from British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award–winning director Alex Lockwood, explores this kind of pervasive and sometimes subtle pressure on graduate students to experiment on animals—even when it’s contrary to good science.

The 16-minute film will have a limited 72-hour public debut on, beginning at midnight on December 6. The trailer is available here.

Test Subjects profiles three scientists whose lives were altered when they were coached by their doctoral advisers to accept that experimenting on animals was the best way to earn their diplomas—even though it was unnecessary for their research. They had all entered their graduate studies as young scientists hoping to improve human health, but they soon realized that they were being taught to perpetuate an archaic system that was impeding good research—and they have since dedicated their careers to ending animal tests.

“So many of our behaviors are based on the status quo and what other people tell us to be acceptable. When institutions like schools and universities perpetuate the idea that animal testing is justified, it’s so incredibly hard to break free of that way of thinking, particularly if you want to pursue a career in science. For me, that’s what makes the testimonies of these three scientists so powerful. I can’t imagine how daunting it must be to go against the grain and break free of such an established system,” says Lockwood. “I had no idea just how ineffective animal testing is when it comes to human health. When I started researching for the film I was shocked to learn just what a waste of time, money and ultimately life, animal testing really is. I hope that this film will help to get the truth out there.”

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

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

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