PETA Hits Back at Big Pharma to Get Near-Drowning Test Banned

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

PETA is taking on Big Pharma companies that have forced mice or other small animals to swim for their lives. In the laboratories of Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, experimenters have dropped mice, rats, and gerbils into inescapable containers of water and watched as the terrified animals frantically tried to escape. In the test, the animals struggle to stay afloat for several minutes and experimenters see how long it takes for them to give up. If you wonder how such abuse could possibly be relevant to human health, so do many scientists. So we’re hitting back: A PETA neuroscientist took the floor at the companies’ shareholder meetings, challenging executives over the utter uselessness of this torturous near-drowning test and demanding that the companies stop using it in their laboratories. And outside the meetings, PETA supporters protested.

We were there at Pfizer’s annual meeting on April 25. We were there to confront Eli Lilly at its shareholder conference on May 6. And today, May 29, as Bristol-Myers Squibb shareholders are meeting, PETA is there, too.

Our message to Big Pharma is simple: PETA won’t stop until companies pledge never again to torment animals in this cruel and bogus test. Our neuroscientists will be inside boardrooms delivering hard facts to investors, and we’ll demonstrate outside to make the public aware. Johnson & Johnson and AbbVie have already banned the use of the near-drowning test following efforts by PETA—as has DSM Nutritional Products, headquartered in the Netherlands. With the help of our supporters, we will completely relegate this experiment to the history books.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind