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

Posted by on February 12, 2021 | Permalink

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, PETA is sending mouse-shaped vegan chocolates to the vice chancellors of the University of Bath and the University of Bristol to encourage both to have a heart and end their institutions’ use of small animals in the forced swim test.

The delivery is part of PETA’s campaign to push the universities to reject the cruel and widely debunked test and embrace superior, non-animal research.

What Are Experimenters Doing to Mice?

University experimenters put mice or rats in sheer-sided containers of water and watch them paddle furiously in search of an exit, 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 this can tell us something about the psychological states of humans with neurobehavioural disorders, such as depression.

The above footage has been obtained from University of Bath laboratories. Similar procedures have taken place at the University of Bristol.

Forced Swim Experiments Are Bad Science

These tests induce panic and terror in vulnerable animals and are not a reliable tool for assessing neurobehavioural disorders. The wider scientific community condemns tests such as these, and more and more companies are phasing them out.

Organisations Are Saying Goodbye to Forced Swim Experiments

After PETA provided King’s College London with scientific evidence showing the failings of the forced swim test, the university confirmed it does not intend to conduct the test on any species going forward.

In September 2020, the University of Adelaide announced that it would no longer subject animals to the test. Additionally, 14 companies – including GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Bristol Myers Squibb, Bayer, Novo Nordisk, AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Sage Therapeutics – have banned the test after hearing from PETA or its affiliates.

It’s time the University of Bristol and the University of Bath followed suit and invested in humane, human-relevant non-animal methods.

What You Can Do

Join PETA in calling on the institutions to ban the near-drowning of animals.

Using forced swim experiments in an attempt to study human neurobehavioural conditions is not only appallingly cruel but also utterly pointless. These experiments do nothing more than cause animal suffering and delay the development of new effective treatments, which are desperately needed.

Help us put pressure on both universities: