What Happened at Our Forced Swim Test Virtual Disruptions?

Posted by on July 9, 2021 | Permalink

PETA and fellow activists held virtual protests to campaign against the use of the forced swim test in university laboratories recently. We joined the University of Bath’s and University of Bristol’s open days to ask why the universities haven’t ditched the cruel test and switched to humane, non-animal research methods.

So what happened? The open days presented an exceptional opportunity to submit questions to the events’ hosts through their online chat. This enabled us to raise awareness among prospective students of the universities’ cruel treatment of animals and prompt the science departments to reconsider their use of the forced swim test.

During experimenters’ talks about the science departments, PETA and our fellow activists sent direct messages to them, asking them why they continued to use the test. In one of the University of Bristol’s talks, our question about the forced swim test was the most popular listed.

Loads of PETA supporters also caused a stir on social media with tweets urging the universities to open their hearts on their open days and drop the tests. Here are a few of our favourites:


Thank you to everyone who spoke out at the open days and on social media.

What’s the Forced Swim Test?

University experimenters put mice (who are often dosed with a test substance) in sheer-sided containers of water and watch them paddle furiously in search of an exit, desperately trying to keep their heads above water. At some point, they stop swimming and start floating.

Experimenters time how long it takes for this to happen on the absurd assumption that it can tell them something about the psychological states of humans with clinical depression.

Why Should It Be Banned?

The test does nothing more than terrify animals and can delay the development of effective new treatments for depression and other neurobehavioural conditions, which are desperately needed.

King’s College London and 14 companies have stated that they’ll no longer conduct the test on any species after hearing from PETA or our affiliates. It’s time the University of Bath and University of Bristol followed suit.

Are You a Student?

Are you a student at the University of Bath or University of Bristol who wants to get involved? Please e-mail our youth outreach and campaigns officer, Simon.

Speak Out Against Animal Experiments

It’s never too late to speak out. Send a message to the universities, urging them to drop the cruel forced swim test:



If you want to take part in future virtual action days like these, join our Action Team!