PETA ‘Pill Bottle’ to Rattle Eli Lilly Over Forced Swim Test

For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Indianapolis – Tomorrow, a PETA supporter wearing a pill bottle costume depicting a drowning mouse and the words “Lilly: Not Nice to Mice” will lead socially distanced protests outside two local pharmacies that sell Eli Lilly prescriptions—and the first location is mere blocks from the pharmaceutical company’s headquarters. The protesters will point out that Eli Lilly has tormented 3,400 mice and rats in the forced swim test since 1993, with nothing to show for it.

When:    Thursday, February 25, 12 noon–12:45 p.m.

Where:    CVS Pharmacy, 336 Delaware St., Indianapolis

When:    Thursday, February 25, 1–1:45 p.m.

Where:    Walgreens, 335 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis

In the forced swim test (video), rats and other small animals are often dosed with test substances, placed in inescapable beakers of water, and made to swim to keep from drowning. Terrified and exhausted, they eventually stop swimming and start floating. Experimenters compare the time spent swimming and floating, on the debunked assumption that this can tell us something about the psychological states of humans with neurobehavioral disorders. The test has been heavily criticized by experts 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.

“Eli Lilly’s refusal to ban the use of the forced swim test is a bitter pill we refuse to swallow,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on the company to formally prohibit tormenting gentle animals in 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.

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