AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S Ban Forced Swim Test on Animals

PETA Applauds Latest Big Pharma Companies That Have Said No to Near-Drowning Test After Discussions

For Immediate Release:
August 21, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Plainsboro, N.J. – After discussions with PETA, AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk A/S have become the latest major pharmaceutical companies to ban the widely discredited forced swim test (see this video), in which mice and other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers filled with water and made to swim to keep from drowning, purportedly to shed light on human depression. These companies join Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, Roche, and Boehringer Ingelheim, which also banned the test after talks with PETA.

“PETA applauds these companies for honoring science and sparing animals,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe. “Humans with mental health issues deserve evidence-based science that might lead to treatments, not wishful thinking and animal torment.”

PETA released video footage of the forced swim test last fall and has been in discussions regarding it with many companies and government officials since then. The test has been heavily criticized 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. The test is less accurate than a coin toss in determining the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. PETA is now calling on Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Bristol-Myers Squibb to end their use of the test, too.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit or click here.


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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