New PETA Virtual Reality Experience Promises Close Encounters at UW-Madison

For Immediate Release:
October 17, 2023

Kendall Davis 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis.

To encourage empathy for animals suffering in university laboratories, PETA is visiting the University of Wisconsin–Madison 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:    Tuesday, October 17, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Where:    State Street (near Library Mall), UW-Madison

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

alien from abduction PETA experience walking through narrow corridor with humans huddled on the ground

Animals are suffering right under students’ noses at UW-Madison, where a PETA undercover investigation into the school’s primate research center revealed that monkeys were held in barren steel cages and bleak windowless rooms, driven mad by neglect and extreme long-term confinement, and attacked by their traumatized cagemates. In addition to keeping rhesus macaques on starvation-like diets for decades, experimenters have cut into monkeys’ skulls, injected toxic agents into their brains, and suctioned out or burned portions of the tissue. They have also subjected infant monkeys, some only a week old, to blood draws, painful cerebrospinal fluid draws, and skin biopsies. And in one particularly cruel test, marmoset fathers were separated from their babies, placed alone in unfamiliar rooms, and subjected to distressing audio recordings mimicking their infants’ cries for help, causing many of the fathers to frantically search for their offspring.

In addition to these recent experiments, a University of Massachusetts–Amherst experimenter who straps hand warmers to marmosets to mimic hot flashes associated with menopause now plans to subject marmosets at UW-Madison to sleep disruption tests, in which the small animals will be awoken by blaring sounds every 15 minutes all night long.

“Many students don’t know that on their own college campuses, frightened and confused animals are being psychologically tormented, starved, 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 last year, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California–Los Angeles, and the University of Texas–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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