New PETA Virtual Reality Experience Promises Close Encounters at Virginia Tech

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Blacksburg, Va. – In a bid to encourage empathy for animals who are mutilated and killed in university laboratories, on Thursday PETA will have its Virginia Tech launch of 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:       Thursday, November 17, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where:      Western part of the Drillfield, Blacksburg

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

At Virginia Tech, experimenters induced depression and anxiety in rats by repeatedly exposing the animals to pressure blasts over 52 weeks while the rats were held in a mesh sling. The experimenters then killed the animals and cut out their brains. Other experimenters captured house finches in nature and kept them in stressful confinement in a laboratory before infecting them with a pathogen that caused a painful eye infection.

Documents obtained by PETA show that Virginia Tech violates even minimal animal welfare regulations. Dogs in the university’s laboratories have had no regular program of veterinary care, and bats have been transported across the country in containers without proper ventilation. Experimenters have inflicted traumatic brain injury on miniature pigs, causing weakness in all four legs, trembling, and depression. The experiments were conducted without approval from the school’s animal experimentation oversight body. Virginia Tech has purchased beagles from a troubled beagle factory farm owned by animal testing giant Envigo, where PETA uncovered neglect, intense confinement, suffering, and death in a groundbreaking undercover investigation.

“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, including Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Broadcast-quality footage of the Abduction virtual reality experience is available upon request.

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.

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