‘Grim Reapers’ Haunt University of Bristol Rat Killers

‘Grim Reapers’ Haunt University of Bristol Rat Killers

Bristol – Ahead of World Day for Animals in Laboratories (24 April), “grim reapers” holding scythes with the message “Death to the Forced Swim Test” haunted the University of Bristol and its vice chancellor, Hugh Brady, today. The chilling spectacle is part of PETA’s campaign urging the university to reject this cruel experiment and embrace superior, non-animal research.

Photos of the action are available here.

“PETA’s ‘grim reapers’ are a haunting reminder for Vice Chancellor Brady to end the university’s use of the cruel forced swim test before he leaves his post at the end of the academic year,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “These profoundly cruel and distressing  tests must be dropped in favour of modern, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients.”

In the widely discredited test, experimenters place rats, who may or may not have been dosed with a test substance, into inescapable beakers of water and watch them desperately swim in search of an escape, on the assumption that the time it takes for the animals to stop swimming and start floating can tell us something about mental health conditions in humans. Once the test is complete, experimenters kill the rats – either by gassing, blunt force trauma to the head, an overdose of anaesthetic, or breaking their necks  – to study their brains.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk or follow the group on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7923 6244; [email protected]