‘Mouse’ in Tank to Protest Pfizer’s Forced Swim Tests

PETA Will Flood Pharmaceutical Company With Reasons to Ban Cruel, Bogus Near-Drowning Experiments on Small Animals

For Immediate Release:
October 23, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Cambridge, Mass.What:    On Thursday, a PETA “mouse” will flail underwater in a tank outside the Pfizer building in Cambridge to urge the pharmaceutical company to ban the widely discredited forced swim (or “despair”) test.

Where:    Pfizer, 1 Portland St. (at the intersection with Albany Street), Cambridge

When:    Thursday, October 24, 12 noon

Pfizer has used at least 1,270 mice and rats in the test. In the 18 years that publications show the company has used the test, it hasn’t led to any marketable drugs to treat human depression. During the forced swim test, mice and other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers filled with water and made to swim to keep from drowning. While experimenters have claimed that animals who spend more time floating are depressed, experts assert that floating is not a sign of despair but rather a positive indication that animals are learning, conserving energy, and adapting to a new environment. The test is less accurate than a coin toss in determining the effectiveness of antidepressant medications.

“Nearly drowning mice teaches us nothing about human depression,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is calling on Pfizer to join Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, Roche, and other leading pharmaceutical companies in banning the forced swim test in favor of advanced, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients.”

PETA is also asking its supporters to collect any tubes of Pfizer’s ChapStick that they or their families and friends might have and send them to the company’s CEO—and to swear off buying the product until Pfizer agrees to ban the forced swim test.

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.


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