Photos: Dan Norris and Giant ‘Rat’ Push University of Bristol to Have a Heart for Animals

Photos: Dan Norris and Giant ‘Rat’ Push University of Bristol to Have a Heart for Animals

BristolConsider it an early valentine for University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady: today, Mayor of the West of England Dan Norris and PETA’s “rat” mascot – decked out in Cupid wings and carrying a bow and arrow – gathered outside the Wills Memorial Building and brandished signs proclaiming, “University of Bristol: Have a Heart: Drop the Forced Swim Test.”

More images are available here.

In the widely discredited test, experimenters place rats, who may or may not have been dosed with a test substance, into inescapable beakers of water and watch them desperately swim in search of an escape, on the assumption that the time it takes for the animals to stop swimming and start floating can tell us something about depression and other mental health conditions in humans. PETA is urging the university to end the cruel experiment and embrace superior, non-animal research.

“Forcing frantic animals to swim for fear of drowning is cruel, and studies show it is irrelevant to depression in humans,” says Norris. “I join PETA in urging the University of Bristol to reconsider the forced swim test and stop tormenting gentle animals in this outdated experiment.”

“It takes a cold heart to torment a vulnerable rat,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA is calling on the University of Bristol to drop these near-drowning tests in favour of modern, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients.”

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.


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