New PETA Virtual Reality Experience Promises Close Encounters at University of California–Davis

For Immediate Release:
November 9, 2023

Kendall Davis 202-483-7382

Davis, Calif.

To encourage empathy for animals suffering in university laboratories, PETA is visiting the University of California–Davis today with Abduction, a unique virtual reality experience landing on college campuses across the country. In this eerie experience, visitors will enter a mysterious truck containing a mobile virtual reality studio. The students will seemingly find themselves stranded in the desert with a couple of fellow humans, abducted by aliens, taken aboard a spaceship, and subjected to a shocking experience, similar to what animals endure in laboratories. They’ll watch as their friends are subjected to painful tests—knowing that they’ll be next.

When:    Today, Thursday, November 9, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Where:    W. Quad Street, University of California–Davis

Watch the trailer here. Broadcast-quality footage of the Abduction virtual reality experience is available upon request.

text reads abduction over image of aliens and huddled humans

A recent PETA investigation revealed that staff at UC-Davis left a monkey unattended in a closed van for up to 90 minutes with a heater blasting 130-degree air directly into her cage, leading to her death. The university is also home to the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC), where experimenters have cut open monkeys’ skulls, inserted implants that cooled portions of their brains as low as 35.6 degrees, and restrained them with headposts to observe their capacity to reach for bits of food. Other experiments at the CNPRC have included inflicting spinal cord injuries on rhesus macaques, forcibly separating baby monkeys from their mothers, and playing audio recordings mimicking baby monkeys’ cries for help to their caged fathers.

The CNPRC also is the site of an Inhalation Exposure Core, a center in which monkeys are subjected to third-party studies involving the inhalation of toxic substances. In one such experiment funded by the National Institutes of Health, monkeys were forced to live in a room that was continually filled with tobacco smoke for a week at a time before they were killed and dissected.

“Many students don’t know that on their own college campuses, animals are being psychologically tormented, mutilated, and killed in laboratories, with no way to escape or even understand what’s happening to them,” says Senior Director of peta2 Rachelle Owen. “PETA is on a mission to open young people’s eyes to this cruelty, help students understand what it feels like, 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 immersive content creation studio Prosper XR—has stopped at nearly three dozen other college campuses over the past year, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California–Los Angeles, and the University of Texas at Austin.

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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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