PETA Makes a Splash in Bristol With Drowning Rat Billboard

Posted by on September 20, 2021 | Permalink

As part of PETA’s campaign to urge the University of Bristol to end its use of the forced swim test and embrace advanced, non-animal research, we’ve erected a giant billboard in the area with a powerful message.

The ad calls for the university to end its use of this archaic, cruel experiment. It reads, “Shame on University of Bristol. Ban the forced swim test NOW. The ‘science’ doesn’t hold water.

You can see the new billboard at 94 Bedminster Down Road.

What’s the Forced Swim Test?

In the forced swim test, rats and other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers of water and made to swim to keep from drowning. 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.

forced swim test

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.

Bad Science

A recent review initiated by the Home Office cites PETA’s work with organisations to abandon the test and calls for researchers to seek alternative methods for screening potential new antidepressant drugs, making it clear that the test could impede the discovery of effective new drugs for humans.

Sending rats into a panic by putting them into water-filled containers tells us nothing about the complexities of human depression. PETA’s ad demands that the University of Bristol end this widely discredited test.

Urge the University of Bristol to Change

Following discussions with PETA entities, 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 month, 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: