Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO, Please ‘Chat’ About Near-Drowning Tests on Mice

PETA Protesters at Goldman Sachs Conference 'Fireside Chat' Will Call On Pharma Company to Ban Cruel, Scientifically Flawed Forced Swim Test

For Immediate Release:
January 8, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

New York – On Thursday morning, a group of PETA-affiliated “mice” will protest outside the Goldman Sachs 12th Annual Healthcare CEOs Unscripted Conference to urge Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio, who is part of the “fireside chat,” to ban the discredited forced swim test.

When:    Thursday, January 9, 9:30 a.m.

Where:    Outside Goldman Sachs headquarters, 200 West St., New York City

In the forced swim test—also called the “despair test”—mice, hamsters, or other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers of water and made to swim to keep from drowning, purportedly to shed light on human depression. The test is less accurate than a coin toss in determining the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. Many pharmaceutical giants, including Bayer, Roche, Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk A/S, AstraZeneca, AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Pfizer, have banned the test after hearing from PETA.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb has forced more than 1,000 frantic animals to swim for their lives in a test that hasn’t yielded even one treatment for human depression,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is calling on Mr. Caforio to ban the forced swim test in favor of advanced, animal-free research methods that might actually help people suffering from depression.”

Last month, PETA and another Bristol-Myers Squibb shareholder submitted a joint shareholder resolution calling on the company to assess the effectiveness of the forced swim test and report to shareholders on the matter. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 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