New PETA Virtual Reality Experience Promises Close Encounters at University of Central Florida

For Immediate Release:
February 21, 2023

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla. – In a bid to encourage empathy for animals who are mutilated and killed in university laboratories, PETA will visit the University of Central Florida (UCF) today to launch Abduction—a unique virtual reality experience that will land 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 done on animals—knowing that they’ll be next.

When:    Tuesday, February 21, 1 p.m.

Where:    University of Central Florida’s Memory Mall, Gemini Boulevard N., Orlando

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

At UCF, experimenters bred rats to have neurodegenerative disease, subjecting them to atrophy of their skeletal muscles and limb paralysis. The experimenters left the rats to suffer in this manner for more than nine months and then killed them and cut their spinal cords into pieces. Experimenters infected 6- to 8-week-old mice with Lyme disease–causing bacteria, then bled them to death and cut out their organs. Other experimenters irradiated mice to death before taking bone marrow from them along with spleen and lymph node cells. Other mice were infected with a virus that caused them to experience weight loss, a hunched posture, ruffled fur, and lack of movement before experimenters killed them by breaking their necks, drained their bodies of blood, and cut out portions of their organs.

“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 Rachelle Owen. “PETA is on a mission to open young people’s eyes to this cruelty, help them 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 virtual reality creation studio Prosper XR—has stopped at several other college campuses from coast to coast.

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 Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind