Photos: PETA ‘Rat’ Gives Out Free Face Masks – With a Message

Photos: PETA ‘Rat’ Gives Out Free Face Masks – With a Message

Bristol – Today – as COVID-19 cases are rising in the area and the government is “strongly advising” staff and students to wear face coverings on university campuses – a PETA supporter in a rat costume scurried around Bristol spreading information, not germs, by giving out free face masks featuring an image of a rat trying desperately to stay afloat. The masks take a jab at the University of Bristol for continuing to use the widely discredited forced swim test, in which experimenters put rats into inescapable beakers of water and watch how long they swim, on the assumption that the time it takes for the animals to start floating will reveal something about depression and other conditions in humans.

Images from the giveaway are also available here.

The mask giveaway is part of PETA’s campaign to urge the University of Bristol to reject this flawed experiment and embrace superior, non-animal research. This week, the university’s Student Union passed a motion with the stated intention to “[e]nd the use of the cruel and debunked forced swim test”. This makes official the student body’s support for PETA’s campaign to pressure the university to end its use of the cruel test.

“Human depression has nothing to do with how long frantic rats can keep their heads above water,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA hopes kind people will help rats and keep themselves and others safe by wearing these face masks with pride.”

Following discussions with 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 in the future. Among the many high-profile supporters of PETA UK’s campaign is British icon Joanna Lumley, who sent 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. For more information, please visit or follow the group on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7923 6244; [email protected]