For Immediate Release:
May 16, 2023
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
New York – PETA supporters armed with signs reading, “Ban the animal torture,” confronted University of Bristol (England) Vice-Chancellor and President Evelyn Welch during an alumni event at the Raines Law Room lounge to expose the institution’s shameful refusal to ban the forced swim test.
The activists filled the room chanting, “Ban the forced swim test now!” before being escorted out by security. Video footage of the disruption is available here.
In the widely discredited tests, experimenters induce panic in vulnerable small animals such as rats by dropping them into inescapable cylinders of water, forcing them to swim. Terrified of drowning, they attempt to climb the sides of the container and even dive underwater looking for a way out. Experimenters believe this can somehow reveal something about human mental health conditions. And they kill the animals when they are done with them—either by gassing them, inflicting blunt-force trauma to the head, inducing anaesthetic overdose, or breaking their necks—and then study their brains.
“The forced swim test does not translate to humans, yet the University of Bristol continues to defend it,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is calling on Vice-Chancellor Welch to join the rest of the U.K.’s top universities in dropping this cruel and pointless experiment.”
Among others, the universities of Liverpool, Brighton, Exeter, Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton, and Newcastle University and King’s College London indicated they neither use the near-drowning test nor intend to do so in the future.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.