DSM Nutritional Products Abandons Cruel, Controversial Forced Swim Test After Talks With PETA
For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2019
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Heerlen, Netherlands – After discussions with PETA, DSM Nutritional Products—which manufactures ingredients used in nutritional supplements and personal-care products—has confirmed that it will no longer use the widely discredited forced swim test, in which mice, rats, and sometimes other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers filled with water and made to swim to keep from drowning.
DSM joins Johnson & Johnson and pharmaceutical giant AbbVie in ending its use of this test, and PETA is now calling on Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer to follow suit.
Experimenters affiliated with DSM have claimed that the test can measure an animal’s “depression-like behavior” and identify potentially antidepressant substances, but that theory has been debunked. PETA scientists reviewed published studies and found that dropping animals into water this way was less predictive than a coin toss of a compound’s effectiveness in treating human depression. Animals used in these tests frantically try to escape by attempting to climb up the sides of the beakers or even diving underwater in search of an exit. They paddle furiously, desperately trying to keep their heads above water. Eventually, most start to float.
“Forcing animals to swim frantically in fear for their lives is hideously cruel and tells us nothing about human depression,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “DSM Nutritional Products has made the right call in leaving this bad science behind.”
DSM previously subjected over 200 mice and rats to the forced swim test in order to make health claims about ingredients such as queen bee acid, DHA, and oregano extract.