New PETA Virtual Reality Experience Promises Close Encounters at Harvard and MIT


For Immediate Release:
October 28, 2022

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Cambridge, Mass. – In a bid to encourage empathy for animals who are mutilated and killed in university laboratories, next week PETA will have its Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launch of Abduction—a unique virtual reality experience landing 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:      Monday and Tuesday, October 31 and November 1, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where:    Harvard Square, 48 John F. Kennedy St. (in front of Drayton Hall), Cambridge

When:      Wednesday, November 2, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where:    At the intersection of Harvard and Quincy streets (outside Harvard Yard), parking meters 1239, 1237, and 1235, Cambridge

When:      Thursday and Friday, November 3 and 4, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where:    Hockfield Court, near the intersection of Main and Ames streets, Cambridge

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

At Harvard, experimenter Margaret Livingstone permanently takes newborn monkeys from their devoted mothers. She has condemned some to complete darkness for up to a year by sewing one or both of their eyelids shut—just to see how badly it affects their development. In current studies, staff handling the motherless baby monkeys wear welding masks so the traumatized infants never get to see a face, monkey or human. Today, PETA released this statement: PETA Demands Proof of Human ‘Benefits’ Claimed by Harvard’s Margaret Livingstone

At MIT, experimenters drilled holes into the skulls of rats, implanted electrodes into their brains, and surgically attached head posts to their skulls so that the animals could be held stock-still for tests. The rats were trained to poke their noses into a cone in order to receive positive stimulation via electric pulses delivered through the electrodes and were then given a drug to block their ability to experience pleasure. Other experimenters implanted electrodes into mice’s brains and injected a toxin into one eye of some of the mice, causing them to lose considerable vision in that eye.

“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 for the animals, 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, will stop at several other college campuses from coast to coast, including Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. 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 PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.





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