Joanna Lumley Urges University of Bristol to End ‘Ghastly’ Near-Drowning Tests on Animals

Joanna Lumley Urges University of Bristol to End ‘Ghastly’ Near-Drowning Tests on Animals

Bristol – BAFTA-winning actor and staunch animal rights activist Joanna Lumley has sent a letter to the University of Bristol’s vice-chancellor and president, Hugh Brady, imploring him to end the university’s “ghastly” use of forced swim experiments.

“As a long-time advocate for animals, I felt obliged to write to you about the near-drowning experiments conducted at the University of Bristol. As you must know, these experiments, also referred to as the ‘forced swim test’, involve trapping small animals in cylinders of water and forcing them to swim to keep from drowning,” writes Lumley.

She goes on to explain why the controversial experiments just don’t hold water when it comes to good science.

“And what do these tests do besides traumatising animals? Absolutely nothing, it seems,” Lumley points out. “[T]hese experiments attempt to compare the animals’ ordeals with human conditions such as depression and stress, yet the test is neither required nor beneficial for producing new antidepressant treatments for humans. In fact, these awful tests may actually hinder the development of successful treatments for such conditions.”

Following discussions with PETA and its international affiliates, 14 companies and two universities, including King’s College London, have declared that they don’t intend to use the forced swim test, which they previously used for depression research, in the future. PETA is calling on the University of Bristol to follow suit.

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 or follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


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