Bayer Confirms: No More Near-Drowning Tests on Animals

Pharmaceutical Company Earns Kudos From PETA for Banning Cruel, Scientifically Bogus 'Depression' Test

For Immediate Release:
December 4, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Whippany, N.J. – After PETA asked Bayer to confirm that it had banned the widely discredited forced swim test—in which rats and other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers filled with water and made to swim to keep from drowning—the company assured PETA that the test hasn’t been used since 2006 and that it will never again be used in its laboratories.

“Bayer did the compassionate, scientifically sound thing in ditching the forced swim test, which terrifies animals and fails humans who are suffering from depression,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA thanks Bayer for protecting vulnerable rats, mice, and other small animals from the scourge of this hideous experiment and urges other pharmaceutical companies to do the same.”

Animals used in forced swim tests frantically try to escape by attempting to climb up the sides of the beakers or even diving underwater in search of an exit. They paddle furiously, desperately trying to keep their heads above water. Eventually, most start to float—which scientific data (and common sense) suggests is a learned and adaptive behavior that saves energy, is beneficial for survival, and is unrelated to depression. PETA scientists reviewed published studies and found that dropping animals into water in this way is less accurate than a coin toss in determining a drug’s effectiveness in humans.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. Bayer joins Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AbbVie in ditching this test, and PETA is now calling on Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly to follow suit.

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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