PETA’s Protesters Urge University of Bristol to Ban Near-Drowning Test

Posted by on September 20, 2023 | Permalink

The University of Bristol is insisting on pursuing cruel and worthless forced swimming tests using rats. PETA will stop these experiments. Here are our latest actions:

Update (9 September 2023):
As the University of Bristol welcomed 20,000 prospective students, PETA shared information that would surely be omitted from the day – mice and rats are tormented in the forced swim test.

PETA’s protesters shone a light on the university’s experiments on animals, and horrified parents expressed that they would share their concerns with university officials.

Update (13 July 2023):
PETA supporters joined by activists from Animal Rising invaded the stage at the Wills Memorial Building, disrupting a panel discussion about the future of universities that included the University of Bristol’s deputy vice chancellor and other officials, to expose the university’s shameful refusal to ban the cruel forced swim test.

Update (17 May 2023):

PETA US supporters armed with signs reading “Ban the animal torture” confronted University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President Evelyn Welch during a New York City alumni event.

Protesters exposed the institution’s shameful refusal to ban the forced swim test at the Raines Law Room lounge.

The activists filled the room chanting, “Ban the forced swim test now!” before being escorted out by security.

Update (16 May 2023):

BAFTA-winning actor Richard E Grant – who just kicked off his A Pocketful of Happiness book tour at the Bristol Hippodrome theatre – sent a letter to University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor Professor Evelyn Welch, appealing to her to end the university’s “horrific” forced swim experiments on terrified rats.

“My career has taken me everywhere from Penrith to a galaxy far, far away. And while I’ve experienced some absurd things on my travels, even I couldn’t believe it when I heard that the forced swim test is still used at your university,” writes Grant. “I can only imagine how terrified rats must feel as experimenters put them into inescapable beakers of water, in which they paddle frantically in search of an escape – pawing at the sides of the beaker and diving to the bottom – but to no avail. Once experimenters have finished subjecting the animals to this cruelty, they kill them.”

Update (23 March 2023):

Students at the University of Bristol took the lead and recently staged a sit-in at the university’s administrative hub, Beacon House. Security was immediately dispatched – but rather than forcibly removing the strong-willed activists, they wished them luck! Over the course of several hours, the students refused requests to leave and accepted even more support from those passing by.

Update: (4 March 2023):

A group of PETA supporters crashed the University of Bristol’s annual Neuroscience Festival at the Victoria Rooms, where they stormed the stage in order to expose the institution’s shameful refusal to ban the forced swim test.


Update (December 2022):

Campus or crime scene? Ahead of the University of Bristol’s December senate meeting, PETA supporters lay on the ground in the chalk outlines of rats outside the vice-chancellor’s office building in the city centre. Cordoned off with yellow tape, the “crime scene” drew attention to the university’s continued use of the cruel and useless forced swim test, which ultimately ends in the killing of sensitive, intelligent rats. Next to the bodies, evidence markers read, “Tormenting rats tells us nothing about human mental health” and “The forced swim test delays drug discovery”.

Update (November 2022):

“Uni of Bristol tortures rats in beerserk experiments. Take action to end it!” That’s the message a massive “rat” from PETA delivered outside the CAMRA Bristol Beer Festival. The unmissable mascot, flanked by PETA supporters, handed out custom-made beer mats to attendees, demanding that the University of Bristol ban controversial tests in which small animals are forced to swim for their lives before being killed.

Update (October 2022):

PETA’s “zombies” want to put the final nail in the forced swim test’s coffin. Ahead of Halloween, a mob of PETA supporters dressed as brain-dead zombie scientists swarmed Senate House to urge University of Bristol experimenters to use their brains, ban the cruel and useless forced swim test and other near-drowning experiments on small animals, and embrace modern, non-animal research.

September 2022:

PETA Hands Out Freebies to University of Bristol Students – But They Come With a Harsh Truth

Visitors Warned of Animal Torture at University of Bristol Open Day

August 2022:

PETA Crashes the Balloon Party With a Giant ‘Rat’

April 2022:

PETA Haunts the University of Bristol With Grim Reapers

Mark Rylance Urges the University of Bristol to Stop Tormenting Animals

February 2022:

Valentine’s Day: PETA Urges University of Bristol to Have a Heart for Animals

December 2021:

University of Bristol: Students’ Union Condemns Forced Swim Test!

PETA ‘Rat’ Gives Out Free Face Masks – With a Message

November 2021:

The Age of Experiments on Animals Is Over

September 2021:

PETA Makes a Splash in Bristol With Drowning Rat Billboard

‘Rat’ Dunked in Tank to Protest Cruel Tests at University of Bristol

PETA ‘Rat’ Stands Against Bad Forced Swim Test Science

August 2021:

The Things the University of Bristol Does to Rats Are Absolutely Awful – Joanna Lumley Agrees

July 2021:

What Happened at Our Forced Swim Test Virtual Disruptions?

April 2021:

Banned! PETA’s Near-Drowning Mice Ads Rejected From Buses

February 2021:

‘Have a Heart This Valentine’s Day’: Universities Urged to Drop Forced Swim Test

December 2020:

Will Poulter Urges University of Bristol to Ban Forced Swim Experiments

Rats Are Forced to Tread Water, Then Killed

In the widely criticised tests, experimenters induce panic in vulnerable small animals such as rats, who may or may not be dosed with a substance, by putting them into inescapable cylinders of water in which they must swim, terrified they will drown.

They attempt to climb the steep sides of the container and even dive underwater to look for an escape. This is done under the erroneous assumption it can reveal something about mental health conditions in humans.

Once the test is complete, experimenters kill the animals – either by gassing, blunt force trauma to the head, an overdose of anaesthetic, or breaking their necks – to study their brains.

Several universities, including King’s College London, and many major pharmaceutical companies have stopped subjecting animals to these cruel near-drowning tests. It’s time the University of Bristol followed suit and invested in humane, human-relevant, non-animal methods.

Rats Need YOU! Join the Campaign

University of Bristol experimenters must drop these dead-end experiments. When we ask, they listen. Join our campaign and help us keep the pressure on!