Newest Virtual Reality Experience From peta2 Promises Close Encounters at UC-Irvine

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2023

Kendall Davis 202-483-7382

Irvine, Calif.

To encourage empathy for animals suffering in university laboratories, peta2, part of PETA’s youth division, is visiting the University of California–Irvine tomorrow 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:    Thursday, November 16, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Where:    Aldrich Park, University of California–Irvine

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

At UC-Irvine, experimenters used chemicals to induce anxiety in 274 rats, subjected them to behavioral tests, killed them, and dissected their brains. In other experiments, pregnant guinea pigs were cut open and their barely developed fetuses—with no chance of survival—were removed. Experimenters also subjected pigs to electrochemical lipolysis, puncturing their skin in 10 to 12 places, inserting electrodes into their bodies, and applying an electric current in an attempt to damage fat cells.

“Many students don’t know that on their own college campuses, frightened and confused 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. “peta2 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 peta2 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 50 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. Just this week, Abduction won Gold and Audience honors from the Shorty Awards.

peta2—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on TikTok or Instagram.

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