Photos: Giant ‘Rat’ Crashes Balloon Festival Over Forced Swim Test

Photos: Giant ‘Rat’ Crashes Balloon Festival Over Forced Swim Test

Bristol – “The Forced Swim Test Is Full of Hot Air”. That’s the message a massive “rat” from PETA delivered today at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, jumping in front of cameras ahead of the balloons’ take-off. The unmissable mascot held a sign demanding that the University of Bristol ban the controversial test, in which small animals are forced to tread water.

Photos are available here.

In the widely discredited test, experimenters force rats, who may or may not have been dosed with a 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 embrace superior, non-animal research instead.

“The forced swim test is no ‘fiesta’ for the terrified animals who may think they are going to drown,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “As opposition to this cruel and archaic test continues to balloon, PETA is calling on the University of Bristol to adopt modern research methods that leave animals in peace.”

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.


Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]