Eli Lilly Earns PETA ‘Pants on Fire’ Award

For Immediate Release:
January 28, 2021

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Indianapolis “Pants on Fire” awards are on their way from PETA to 10 companies that are guilty of humane washing—that is, trying to deceive customers about their use and abuse of animals—and Eli Lilly is among them.

Eli Lilly earned the dishonor for boasting of its “commitment to responsible animal research” while refusing to ban the forced swim test, in which gentle mice and rats (often dosed with a test substance) are dropped into water-filled beakers and made to swim for their lives. Eli Lilly has tormented more than 1,500 mice and rats in this way over the past decade, according to published papers. 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.

“PETA won’t stand by and let Eli Lilly claim that there’s anything ‘responsible’ about clinging to the practice of nearly drowning vulnerable animals,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Bayer, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson have all banned this archaic cruelty, and it’s past time that Eli Lilly followed suit.”

Other recipients of the “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” awards include Nellie’s Free Range Eggs, which advertises its eggs with photos of hens on rolling green hills even though PETA uncovered thousands of hens crammed into a shed at one Nellie’s “free range” supplier, and Canada Goose, which claims to care about animals while selling fur from coyotes, who can endure excruciating pain in steel traps, and down feathers from birds who are violently killed.

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 PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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