Video: Bath University Forcing Animals to Swim for Their Lives

Video: Bath University Forcing Animals to Swim for Their Lives

PETA Calls For Ban on Cruel, Flawed Forced Swim Test

Bath – Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released long sought-after video footage obtained from University of Bath laboratories showing defenceless mice swimming for their lives in sheer-sided containers for the cruel and worthless forced swim test.

Over the last three years, experimenters at the university have recorded more than 300 forced swim test videos. Despite being a signatory of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research, the institution delayed responding to PETA’s Freedom of Information request asking for a small sample of the forced swim test footage until PETA lodged a complaint and requestan internal review.

Even though the University of Bath learned from PETA last year that the test not only lacks scientific and ethical value but also torments animals, the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body reported in a response to the group that it saw

In the widely discredited forced swim test, small animals – such as rats, mice, and gerbils – 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 amount of time swimming and floating, purportedly to shed light on human depression and to screen antidepressant drugs. Yet the test has been heavily criticised by scientists who argue that floating is not a sign of depression or despair, as some claim, but rather a positive indicator of learning, saving energy, and adapting to a new environment.

“Repeatedly smice to a near-drowning experience teaches us nothing about the complexities of human depression and doesn’t tell us what antidepressants will be effective in humans,” says PETA Science Policy Manager Dr Julia Baines. “PETA is urging the University of Bath to join King’s College London and leading pharmaceutical companies by shunning the forced swim test in favour of advanced, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients.”

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 test in the future and 14 companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca, banned it. PETA is now urging the University of Bath to follow suit.

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

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Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]