VIDEO: PETA Allies Confront Eli Lilly Exec Over Near-Drowning Test on Animals

For Immediate Release:
September 26, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Philadelphia – PETA supporters gathered earlier today at the Nucleus Awards at the University City Science Center, disrupting Eli Lilly Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Skovronsky as he accepted the Commercialization Award in order to expose the pharmaceutical company’s shameful refusal to ban the cruel forced swim test. Video footage of the disruption is available here.

In the forced swim test, also known as the “behavioral despair test,” experimenters dose mice, hamsters, or other small animals with a substance, place them in inescapable beakers of water, and force them to swim to keep from drowning—supposedly to shed light on human depression. Scientists have heavily criticized this test as a poor model of depression, and using it could even rule out effective new drugs. Eli Lilly has tormented at least 3,400 mice and rats in the forced swim test since 1993, but none of those experiments produced a single usable antidepressant.

eli lilly disruption philadelphia, forced swim test

“Daniel Skovronsky is defending a scientifically debunked experiment that forces tiny animals to fear that they’ll drown,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is calling on Eli Lilly to join other major drug companies that have already banned the test.”

Numerous other companies—including Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, AbbVie, Roche, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Bristol Myers Squibb—have 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, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
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