New PETA Virtual Reality Experience Promises Close Encounters at UT-Austin

For Immediate Release:
March 20, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


To encourage empathy for animals who are mutilated and killed in university laboratories, PETA will visit the University of Texas–Austin on Tuesday to launch Abduction—a unique virtual reality experience landing on college campuses across the country. In the eerie experience, visitors enter a mysterious truck and put on a virtual reality headset. They 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 watch as others are subjected to experiments—inspired by real tests done on animals—knowing that they’ll be next.

When:      Tuesday, March 21, 1 p.m.

Where:    On the corner of Speedway and 21st Street closest to Jester in Austin

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

Experiments at UT-Austin have included subjecting rats to alcohol binges for four days in order to cause brain damage and trapping starved rats in chambers that delivered painful shocks to their feet before killing them. Other experimenters cut open frogs’ skulls to expose their brains, immobilized them, mounted them on a foam tray while they were still alive, and then subjected them to loud noise. Experimenters also forced mice to consume alcohol for 20 days, locked them in chambers and forced them to inhale ethanol vapors, repeatedly took blood from their tails, then killed them and cut off their heads.

Due to laboratory staff negligence at UT-Austin, a monkey was given inadequate pain relief, a marmoset sustained injuries because a cage hadn’t been properly secured, and a vole was improperly euthanized and found alive, likely in a pile of dead bodies.

“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’s mission is 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.

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