Giant PETA ‘Rat’ to Lead Eli Lilly Protest

Protesters Will Deliver Thousands of Petitions Demanding a Ban on Cruel Near-Drowning Test on Small Animals

For Immediate Release:
November 17, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382


Tomorrow, a giant PETA “rat” will scamper up the ramp to Eli Lilly’s headquarters, pushing a dolly piled with over 120,000 petitions demanding that the company ban the cruel forced swim test. PETA supporters will gather outside with signs proclaiming, “Forced Swim Test: Drowning Science.”

When:    Wednesday, November 18, 9 a.m.

Where:    Eli Lilly headquarters, 639 Delaware St. (at the intersection with E. McCarty 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. Eventually, often exhausted, they float. 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—but none of the drugs tested were brought to market for depression.

“Dropping small animals into water to test drugs is like using a typewriter in the age of the supercomputer,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on Eli Lilly to follow the lead of more than a dozen other pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, and ban this useless test.”

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 or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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