Cross-Party Parliamentarians Urge Home Office to Abolish Forced Swim Test

Posted by on December 18, 2023 | Permalink

As the Home Office reviews its policy on the forced swim test (FST), parliamentarians, including George Eustice, Caroline Lucas, and Rachael Maskell, sent an open letter to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Office Lord Sharpe of Epsom OBE urging him to prohibit the use of the widely discredited and abysmally cruel test in the UK.

The Home Office must stop licensing use of the FST in the UK and must withdraw all active licences that currently authorise its use. Continuing to allow the cruel test to be carried out causes animals to suffer and undermines scientific integrity.

Abolishing the test would spare thousands of animals a terrifying ordeal and encourage scientists to use innovative, human-relevant research methods.

The Forced Swim Test Explained

In the FST, experimenters induce panic in vulnerable small animals by forcing them into inescapable cylinders of water, where they fear they may drown. They attempt to climb the steep sides of the container and even dive underwater, desperate to find a means of escape.

The test is conducted under the erroneous assumption that it can reveal something about mental health conditions in humans.

The Home Office Should Ban This Cruel Experiment

The Home Office is currently reviewing its policy on the FST in the UK. Advice made public earlier this year from the Animals in Science Committee – an independent advisory body to the Home Office on issues relating to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 – suggested that many licences to conduct the test had been granted without the proper scrutiny and concluded that the test has significant limitations.

PETA is calling for all such licences to be revoked and the FST to be ended in the UK.

Take Action for Mice and Rats

Take a moment to contact universities and companies still using the cruel FST and ask them to stop: