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

Posted by on September 2, 2021 | Permalink

A PETA “rat” flailed in a tank filled with over 2000 litres of water in Bristol’s Queen Square in a demonstration to urge the University of Bristol to ban the widely discredited forced swim test.

The action is part of PETA’s campaign to put pressure on the university to reject this cruel experiment and embrace superior, non-animal research.

What Is the Forced Swim Test?

In the forced swim test, experimenters place rats and other small animals in inescapable beakers of water. They swim in search of an escape. At some point, they stop swimming and start floating. Experimenters time how long it takes for the animal to start floating on the absurd assumption that this can tell us something about the psychological states of humans.

Why the University of Bristol Should Ban It

The test has been heavily criticised by experts who argue that floating is not a sign of despair, as some claim, but rather a positive indicator of learning, saving energy, and adapting to a new environment.

The test’s inability to identify antidepressant treatments has even been recognised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Nearly drowning rats teaches us nothing about human depression. PETA is calling on the University of Bristol to ban the forced swim test in favour of advanced, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients.

Get Involved

Following discussions with PETA and its international affiliates, 15 companies and two universities, including King’s College London, have declared that they don’t intend to use the forced swim test (which some have previously used for depression research) in the future. Last week, British icon Joanna Lumley joined PETA’s campaign, sending a letter to the university’s vice chancellor urging him to end these “ghastly” tests.

Join PETA and Joanna Lumley in calling on the University of Bristol to join the long list of organisations that have dropped the vile experiment:

If you’d like to take part in demonstrations like this one in future, join our action team!