Mickey and Minnie Mouse … Drowning? Iconic Disney Mice Are Reimagined to Help Real-Life Rodents

Mickey and Minnie Mouse … Drowning? Iconic Disney Mice Are Reimagined to Help Real-Life Rodents

London – Ahead of their 94th anniversary (18 November), iconic Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse are being reimagined, courtesy of PETA US Senior Social Media Artist Tiani Hernandez, who has created a satirical new image (available here) as part of PETA’s campaign to persuade pharmaceutical companies and universities to ban the notorious forced swim test.

Reflective of the suffering of real-life mice and rats used in forced swimming tests, the image depicts a panicked Mickey saying, “Oh gosh Minnie, this sure isn’t swell,” and a desperate Minnie calling, “Help, Mickey! I’m drowning!”

Hernandez’s illustration portrays real life, not fantasy. In the widely debunked tests, experimenters induce panic in vulnerable small animals such as mice and rats, who may or may not be dosed with a test substance before being dropped into inescapable cylinders of water and made to swim, terrified they will drown. They attempt to climb the steep sides of the container and even dive underwater to look for an escape. The test is done under the erroneous assumption it can reveal something about mental health conditions in humans. Once it’s complete, experimenters kill the animals – either by gassing, blunt force trauma to the head, an overdose of anaesthetic, or breaking their necks – to study their brains.

“Anyone disturbed at the thought of beloved Disney animals suffering in near-drowning tests should spare a thought for the intelligent, sensitive mice and rats who suffer in these cruel experiments in real life,” says PETA UK Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA is calling on institutions around the world to drop the forced swim test and adopt modern research methods that leave animals in peace.”

Following discussions with PETA entities, 15 companies and several universities, including King’s College London, have declared that they don’t intend to use the forced swim test, which some previously used for depression research, in the future. PETA UK is calling on the and University of Bath 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 PETA.org.uk or follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]