Rep. Brendan Boyle to NIMH: Prepare a Plan to Phase Out Psych Tests on Animals

PETA Supporters Will Protest Foot Shock, Tail Suspension, and Near-Drowning Despair Tests at Tuesday's BRAIN Conference

For Immediate Release:
August 19, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Rockville, Md.What:    In a strongly worded letter, Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) has asked the director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Joshua Gordon, to supply a timeline for phasing out cruel and controversial psychological tests on animals—including the forced swim, tail suspension, and foot shock tests.

When:    Tuesday, August 20, 8:30 a.m.

Where:    6001 Executive Blvd. (at the intersection with Old Georgetown Rd.), Rockville

Rep. Boyle writes, “[V]ideos recorded by NIMH experimenters and obtained by PETA show small animals frantically swimming to keep from drowning, struggling to right themselves as they are hung up by their tails, and jolting across cages in a vain attempt to get away from inescapable electric shocks.” He adds that these senseless tests “are not helping to address mental health issues experienced by humans” and that “[o]ur government, which funds mental health research through our taxpayers, must make the best possible use of its resources and employ only human-relevant and scientifically valid research methods to tackle [the] mental health crisis.”

Rep. Boyle’s letter comes in advance of a PETA protest scheduled for Tuesday morning at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group meeting in Rockville, where a giant “mouse” will lead PETA supporters in a spirited protest urging the agency to end the cruel and pointless psychological tests discussed in the letter. The “mouse” will hold a sign proclaiming, “NIH: Stop Torturing Me,” and protesters will screen the video footage referenced in Rep. Boyle’s letter.

“It’s unacceptable for NIH to funnel taxpayers’ money into scientifically worthless experiments that torment mice and fail humans suffering from mental illness,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe. “PETA joins Rep. Boyle in calling on the agency to end these tests and redirect resources toward superior and humane non-animal research methods.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit or click here.


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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