PETA ‘Lifeguards’ Gather Outside Home Office to Blow the Whistle on Forced Swim Test

London – Today, brandishing signs reading, “Save Lives: End Near-Drowning Tests!”, a group of PETA supporters with whistles, dressed in swimsuits and flip-flops, “rescued” a “rat” in distress in front of the Home Office while PETA representatives delivered a nearly 40,000-strong petition calling on Home Secretary Suella Braverman to end the use of the widely discredited and abysmally cruel forced swim test in the UK.

Images are also available here.

In this test, experimenters induce panic in vulnerable small animals by forcing them into inescapable cylinders of water where, terrified, they swim out of fear of drowning. They attempt to climb the steep sides of the container and even dive underwater, desperate to find a means of escape. The test is conducted under the erroneous assumption that it can reveal something about mental health conditions in humans. Once it is 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.

The Home Office is currently considering a new policy on licensing the forced swim test. Advice, made public earlier this month, from the Animals in Science Committee – an independent advisory body to the Home Office on issues relating to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 – suggests that many licences to conduct forced swim tests have been granted without the proper scrutiny. PETA is calling for all such licences to be revoked and for use of the test to be ended in the UK.

 “Abolishing the forced swim test will save countless animals and spare them a terrifying ordeal while encouraging scientists to use innovative, human-relevant research,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA is calling on the Home Office to act immediately to end the use of this outrageously crude and useless experiment.”

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 FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.