Giant ‘Mutilated Mouse’ to Protest Near-Drowning at NIH Metro Station

Carrying a Sign Reading, 'NIH: Stop Torturing Me,' Costumed PETA Protester Will Ride Escalator at Metro Stop During Rush Hour

For Immediate Release:
August 14, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – During the morning rush hour on Thursday, an eye-catching “mutilated mouse” will ride the escalator at the Medical Center station in Bethesda to urge the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to end its use of the widely discredited forced swim test, 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. The “mouse” will be accompanied by a protester holding a sign reading, “Forced Swim Test = Scientific Fraud.”

When:    Thursday, August 15, 8–9 a.m.

Where:    Medical Center metro station, 8810 Rockville Pike (at the intersection with South Drive), Bethesda

“NIH is funneling taxpayers’ money into a debunked experiment that has no relevance whatsoever to humans who suffer from depression,” says PETA Research Associate Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is calling on the agency to stop forcing vulnerable animals to swim for their lives in this harrowing test.”

Animals used in these 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. As reported in a recent issue of the journal Nature, the forced swim test has been heavily criticized by scientists who argue that floating is not a sign of despair but rather a positive indicator of learning, saving energy, and adapting to a new environment.

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

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