National Institute of Mental Health Director to Face ‘Mice” Fed Up With Cruel Tests

PETA Protesters at UC-Irvine Will Urge Joshua Gordon to End Near-Drowning, Tail Suspension, and Foot Shock Tests on Animals

For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Irvine, Calif. – On Tuesday, a group of PETA “mice” will gather outside National Institute of Mental Health Director Joshua Gordon’s talk at the University of California–Irvine’s 7th Annual Symposium to urge him to end the agency’s use of the widely discredited forced swim (or “despair”) test, in which mice and other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers filled with water and made to swim to keep from drowning; the tail suspension test, in which mice are hung upside down by their sensitive tails, which are taped to a bar; and the foot shock test, in which mice or rats are locked inside a chamber that has an electrified grid floor and repeatedly shocked.

When:    Tuesday, February 25, 2:45 p.m. sharp

Where:    The Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, 100 Academy Way (near the intersection of California Avenue and Academy Drive), Irvine

These experiments often are conducted in an attempt to test the effectiveness of new medications for depression but are no more predictive of human responses to drugs than a coin toss. 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.

“Nearly drowning, shocking, and hanging mice upside down to study human depression makes about as much sense as eating soup with a fork,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on Joshua Gordon to stop tormenting animals and start investing in superior, human-relevant research methods.”

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

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 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