PETA’s Virtual Reality Reveals Harsh Reality of Animal Testing in Universities

by | Oct 6, 2023

Animal rights group PETA has launched an important campaign to raise awareness about the cruel treatment of animals in laboratory experiments. Their newest initiative, Abduction, is a virtual reality (VR) experience that exposes the harsh reality that animals endure in the name of scientific research.

PETA has partnered with virtual reality studio Prosper XR to bring the Abduction VR experience to prestigious universities like MIT, Harvard, UCLA, and the University of Texas–Austin. They are now making an impact at the University of Michigan (U-M), where PETA is advocating for more sophisticated and relevant research methods.

Abduction takes participants on an extraordinary journey. They enter a special truck with a mobile virtual reality studio and are taken to a virtual world where they find themselves stranded in the desert, abducted by aliens, and brought aboard a spaceship. This shocking experience is inspired by the unimaginable suffering animals endure in laboratories.

Through this immersive journey, PETA aims to shed light on the harsh reality faced by animals in cruel experiments. Participants witness animals being tormented, mutilated, and killed in cold, empty labs. The intention is to create empathy and understanding among students who may be unaware of the cruelty happening on their own college campuses.

The facts presented during the Abduction VR experience remind participants of the suffering animals endure. For example, experimenters deliberately burn pigs by using a heated copper bar against their skin. Animals also endure repeated exposures to drugs. One experiment involved giving cocaine to nearly 80 rats at just five weeks old, raising ethical concerns.

Despite studies showing that 90% of basic research involving animals fails to lead to treatments for humans, animals are still used to test burn treatments. This raises questions about the relevance and ethics of using animals in scientific experiments.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-centered view. The organization firmly believes animals should not be experimented on. PETA is urging universities, including U-M, to use sophisticated and human-relevant research methods instead of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

One disturbing experiment at U-M involved injecting acid into the eyes of rabbits, causing abnormal blood vessel growth and severe vision loss. The differences between human and rabbit eyes raise concerns about using animals in experiments for human diseases.

Rachelle Owen, Senior Director at PETA, emphasizes the importance of educating students about animals in labs. She says, “Many students don’t know that on their own college campuses, frightened and confused animals are being tormented, mutilated, and killed in cold, empty labs, with no way to escape or even understand what’s happening to them.”

The Abduction VR experience is a wake-up call, urging students to question animal testing and consider alternative, humane research methods. By immersing participants in a virtual world that mirrors animal suffering, PETA hopes to inspire empathy, awareness, and action.

As Abduction continues its journey across college campuses, PETA aims to spark conversations and drive change in scientific research. The organization believes universities should embrace innovative and ethical research practices that prioritize the well-being of all beings.

Ultimately, this shift towards compassionate and scientifically advanced approaches will benefit animals, students, and future generations. The Abduction VR experience is a powerful tool to create a world where animals are no longer subjected to unnecessary suffering in experiments.