Today (Video): PETA Supporters Confront University of Bristol Over Near-Drowning Test on Animals

Today (Video): PETA Supporters Confront University of Bristol Over Near-Drowning Test on Animals

Bristol – Earlier today, a group of PETA supporters crashed the University of Bristol’s annual Neuroscience Festival at the Victoria Rooms, where they stormed the stage and interrupted Dr Emma Robinson’s talk in order to expose the institution’s shameful refusal to ban the forced swim test. Video footage of the disruption is available here and here.

In the widely criticised tests, experimenters induce panic in vulnerable small animals such as rats, who are 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. Dr Robinson has defended the University of Bristol’s use of these tests and formerly led the Animal Welfare Ethics Review Body, which approved the forced swim test’s use at the institution.

“The public deserves to know that the university defends a scientifically debunked experiment that torments small animals,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA is calling on the University of Bristol to admit that watching panicked animals struggle to stay above water doesn’t help us treat human depression and drop the test now.”

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]