Company Faces Backlash Over Near-Drowning Test on Small Animals
For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2022
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
Las Vegas – Earlier today, PETA supporters crashed Bank of America Securities 2022 Healthcare Conference at the Encore hotel, where they shouted down Eli Lilly Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Skovronsky during his speech. It’s the latest in an effort 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.
“Skovronsky is feeling the heat over Eli Lilly’s scientifically debunked experiments that torment 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 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 CEO David Ricks’ home and during his speech at an Indiana luncheon. 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 PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.