Photos: Campus or Crime Scene? PETA’s ‘Dead Rats’ Haunt University of Bristol

Photos: Campus or Crime Scene? PETA’s ‘Dead Rats’ Haunt University of Bristol

Bristol – Today, ahead of the University of Bristol’s December senate meeting, PETA supporters lay on the ground inside the outlines of rats. Cordoned off with yellow tape, this “crime scene” is the latest action in PETA’s campaign to draw attention to the university’s continued use of cruel and useless forced swim tests, which ultimately end in the death of sensitive, intelligent rats. Next to the bodies, evidence markers read, “Tormenting rats tells us nothing about human mental health” and “The forced swim test delays drug discovery.”

More images are available here.

In the widely criticised tests, experimenters induce panic in vulnerable small animals such as 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. This is done under the erroneous assumption it can reveal something about mental health conditions in humans. Once the test 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 University of Bristol is a crime scene where vulnerable rats are murdered out of view of the public,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA is calling on experimenters to drop these cruel, archaic experiments and switch to superior, human-relevant methods.”

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.


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