Eli Lilly CEO to Face Home Protest Over Forced Swim Tests

PETA 'Mouse' Will Demand Ban on Cruel Near-Drowning Test on Small Animals

For Immediate Release:
June 17, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Indianapolis – On Thursday, a giant PETA “mouse” will lead supporters—all wearing masks and practicing social distancing—in a peaceful protest outside the home of Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks to demand that he ban the company’s use of the cruel forced swim test on animals.

When:    Thursday, June 18, 12 noon

Where:    7550 N. Washington Blvd. (at the intersection with E. 75th Street), Indianapolis

In the test (see this video), mice, hamsters, or 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. 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. Statistically, the test is less accurate than a coin toss in determining the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. Between 1993 and 2019, Eli Lilly employees published at least 20 papers and submitted at least 11 patent applications describing the use of the notorious test.

“Eli Lilly is clinging to archaic cruelty even though its competitors have banned this useless test,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA will bring this issue home for Eli Lilly’s David Ricks until he does something about it.”

GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and many other pharmaceutical companies have banned the forced swim test after discussions with PETA.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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