TODAY (Video): PETA Allies Heckle Eli Lilly CEO Over Near-Drowning Animal Test

For Immediate Release:
April 20, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382


Earlier today, a group of PETA supporters crashed The Economic Club of Indiana’s luncheon at the Indiana Convention Center on S. Capitol Avenue, where they stormed the stage to confront Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks and interrupted his speech in order to expose the pharmaceutical company’s shameful refusal to ban the cruel forced swim test. Photos and video footage of the disruption are available here.

In the forced swim or “behavioral despair” test, mice, hamsters, or other small animals are often dosed with a test substance, placed in inescapable beakers filled with water, and made to swim to keep from drowning, purportedly to understand and treat human depression. The test has been heavily criticized by scientists who argue that floating isn’t a sign of depression or despair, as some claim, but rather a positive indicator of learning, saving energy, and adapting to a new environment. Eli Lilly has tormented 3,400 mice and rats in this test since 1993, but none of the drugs it has attempted to develop by using it are on the market.

“The public deserves to know that David Ricks is defending a scientifically debunked experiment that torments tiny animals,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on him to admit that watching panicked animals struggle to stay above water doesn’t help us treat human depression and to ban the test.”

PETA’s campaign against Eli Lilly has included ads, tens of thousands of e-mails from consumers, attendance at annual meetings, and numerous protests, including outside Ricks’ home. And at every turn, PETA has pointed out that Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, AbbVie, Roche, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Bristol Myers Squibb have all banned the test.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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