University of Bristol’s Near-Drowning Tests on Small Animals Prompt PETA V-Day Delivery

University of Bristol’s Near-Drowning Tests on Small Animals Prompt PETA V-Day Delivery

Bristol – Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a box of delicious mouse-shaped vegan chocolates is on its way from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to the vice chancellor of the University of Bristol, Professor Hugh Brady, to encourage him to have a heart and end the institution’s use of the forced swim test on small animals. The delivery is part of PETA’s campaign  to push the university to reject the cruel and widely debunked test and embrace superior, non-animal research.

In the forced swim test, rats and other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers of water and made to swim to keep from drowning. At some point, they stop swimming and start floating. Experimenters compare the time spent swimming and floating, on the absurd assumption that this can tell us something about the psychological states of humans Yet the test has been heavily criticised by experts who argue that floating is not a sign of despair, as some claim, but rather a positive indicator of learning, saving energy, and adapting to a new environment.

“This isn’t the first time the University of Bristol is hearing from PETA about the forced swim test, and it won’t be the last – but it’s definitely the sweetest,” says PETA Science Policy Manager Dr Julia Baines. “We’re playing nice for mice in the hope that it convinces the university to show some love for animals and science by ditching this flawed test.”

Last year, University of Bristol alumnus and The Maze Runner actor Will Poulter also sent a letter to the institution’s vice chancellor imploring him to end the university’s use of forced swim experiments. He has yet to receive a response.

Following discussions with PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – and its international affiliates, King’s College London declared that it doesn’t intend to use the forced swim test in the future and 14 companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca, banned it.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and supports the use of scientifically and ethically sound testing methods that protect animals, humans, and the environment.

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