PETA Will Demand a Ban on Cruel Near-Drowning Test on Small Animals
For Immediate Release:
September 16, 2020
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
San Diego – On Thursday, a PETA supporter wearing a pill bottle costume depicting a drowning mouse and the words “Lilly: Not Nice to Mice” will lead a socially distanced protest outside Eli Lilly’s headquarters, calling on it to ban the cruel forced swim test. The “pill bottle” and fellow protesters will point out that the company has terrified 3,400 mice and rats in the test since 1993, with nothing to show for it.
When: Thursday, September 17, 12 noon
Where: 10290 Campus Point Dr., San Diego
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.
“Eli Lilly needs to accept that nearly drowning mice is irrelevant to human depression,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “It must follow the lead of more than a dozen other major 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 PETA.org.