PETA ‘Rat’ Challenges Uni’s Forced Swim Tests With Bridge Banner Drop

PETA ‘Rat’ Challenges Uni’s Forced Swim Tests With Bridge Banner Drop

Bristol – Today, a giant “rat” led PETA supporters to Bristol Bridge, where they dropped a giant banner – reading “The Science Doesn’t Hold Water” – over the north-side railings to rail against the University of Bristol’s use of the forced swim test. In the widely discredited test, experimenters often dose rats with a test substance, place them into inescapable beakers of water and watch them swim for their lives, on the assumption that the time it takes for the animals to stop swimming and start floating can tell us something about clinical depression in humans.

The action is part of PETA’s campaign to urge the University of Bristol to reject this cruel experiment and embrace superior, non-animal research.

“Watching rats gasp and scramble inside glass containers is cruel and worthless ‘science’,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA is calling on the University of Bristol to ban the forced swim test in favour of superior, non-animal research.”

A recent review initiated by the Home Office cites PETA’s work with organisations to abandon the test and calls for researchers to seek alternative methods for screening potential new antidepressant drugs, making it clear that the test could rule out the discovery of effective new drugs for humans.

Following discussions with PETA and other PETA entities, 15 companies and two universities, including King’s College London, have declared that they don’t intend to use the forced swim test, which some have previously used for depression research, in the future. Last month, British icon Joanna Lumley joined PETA’s campaign, sending a letter to the university’s vice chancellor urging him to end these “ghastly” tests.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. High-resolution photos are available here. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


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