New PETA Virtual Reality Experience Promises Close Encounters at Brown University

For Immediate Release:
November 4, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Providence, R.I.

In a bid to encourage empathy for animals who are mutilated and killed in university laboratories, on Monday PETA will have its Brown University launch of Abduction, a unique virtual reality experience landing on college campuses across the country. In the eerie experience, visitors will enter a mysterious truck and put on a virtual reality headset. They’ll seemingly find themselves stranded in the desert with a couple of fellow humans, abducted by aliens, taken aboard a spaceship, and subjected to a terrifying experience similar to what animals endure in laboratories. They’ll watch as others are subjected to experiments—inspired by real tests conducted on animals—knowing that they’ll be next.

When:       Monday to Wednesday, November 7 to 9, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where:     102 Waterman St. (at the intersection with Thayer Street), Providence

Watch the trailer here. Broadcast-quality footage of the Abduction virtual reality experience is available upon request. Images from the first day of the Brown Abduction stop will be available on Monday.

Experimenters at Brown surgically implanted pumps into the backs of 2-month-old rats and continuously pumped a chemical into them for nearly two weeks. They then placed the rats in restraints, exposed some to X-rays, cut off their testicles, and then killed them. Brown continues to use live pigs in its emergency residency program, even though nearly every other medical center in the country has switched to simulators that replicate a breathing, bleeding human. In addition to being more humane, these systems are more portable, less costly, and reusable.

Last year, PETA publicized federal documents that revealed 23 violations of animal welfare standards at Brown between March 2019 and April 2021—nearly one violation per month. Among other incidents, records document that eight mice starved to death and 12 died of dehydration, a mouse survived carbon dioxide gassing and woke up in a refrigerator intended for dead animals, a mouse was found with a tumor exceeding the university’s own size limits, and the experimenters failed to euthanize animals in a timely manner—a mouse was found in a “moribund state,” likely with labored breathing, sunken eyes, and the inability to reach food or water.

“Many students don’t know that on their own college campuses, frightened and confused animals are being tormented, mutilated, and killed in cold, barren laboratories, with no way to escape or even understand what’s happening to them,” says PETA Senior Director of Students Opposing Speciesism Rachelle Owen. “PETA is on a mission to open young people’s eyes to this cruelty, help them understand what it feels like for the animals, and motivate them to join our call for a switch to superior, non-animal research.”

Studies show that 90% of all basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans, which is why PETA is pushing universities to pivot to sophisticated, human-relevant research methods.

Abduction, which was filmed in VR180 with assistance from the virtual reality creation studio Prosper XR, has stopped at several other college campuses from coast to coast, including Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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