Bipartisan Legislators Urge National Institute of Mental Health to End Foot Shock, Tail Suspension, and Near-Drowning Tests
For Immediate Release:
June 9, 2020
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) and Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) along with Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) sent a letter today calling on National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Joshua Gordon to provide a timeline for ending cruel and pointless psychological tests on animals and switching to modern research methods.
The controversial taxpayer-funded experiments drawing congressional scrutiny include the forced swim test, in which mice and other small animals are made to swim for their lives; the foot shock test, in which they’re electrically shocked; the tail suspension test, in which they’re hung upside down; and social defeat experiments, in which mice are attacked by larger mice. These experiments induce extreme fear, panic, despair, and trauma in the animals and have failed to produce treatments for humans—and as the letter points out, Gordon has acknowledged that these tests have “wasted time and $” and are “lacking … specificity to be of general use in clarifying … human depression,” but his agency continues to fund them.
“[T]he use of mice and other animals for depression research, particularly when it involves crude and cruel tests such as the ones in [PETA’s] video, has been cited as a major contributor to the failure of new drugs to treat this condition,” the congressional letter states. In 2019, NIMH spent more than $26,602,694 of taxpayers’ hard-earned money on cruel, ineffective, and wasteful experiments, including the forced swim test and other psychological tests on animals.
“NIMH knows very well that tormenting mice tells us nothing about human depression, yet it’s funneling millions of taxpayer dollars into these worthless tests,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA joins Reps. Boyle and Calvert and the other legislators in calling for animals to be spared the pain, despair, and helplessness of being electrically shocked, hung upside down, and nearly drowned.”