Video: PETA Exposes Feds’ Conflict of Interest in Cruel Psychological Tests on Animals

NIMH Director Has Conducted the Pointless, Bullying ‘Social Defeat,’ Near-Drowning, Tail Suspension, and Electroshocking Experiments He Defends

For Immediate Release:
July 18, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Bethesda, Md.

Today, PETA released video footage of a “social defeat” experiment, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in which a small mouse was put inside a cage with a larger, more aggressive one who repeated attacked the smaller mouse, producing psychological stress and depression in the attacked animal. This procedure and three other controversial tests conducted and funded by NIMH have all been defended by NIMH Director Joshua Gordon—who has himself received funding to conduct all four of the tests.

Gordon’s own social defeat experiments include one in which male mouse urine was rubbed onto young female mice’s vaginas and tails. The females were then placed into cages with larger, aggressive male mice so that they would be assaulted.

The release of this new video footage comes in the wake of PETA’s release of other footage obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, revealing that cruel and scientifically worthless psychological tests were conducted on mice in government laboratories at NIMH.

The other tests include the widely discredited forced swim (or “despair”) test, in which mice, rats, or other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers filled with water and must swim frantically to keep from drowning; the tail suspension test, in which mice are hung upside down by their tails, which are taped to a bar; and the foot shock test, in which mice or rats are locked inside a chamber that has an electrified grid floor and shocked. These experiments are often used to try to test new medications for depressions but are no more predictive of human responses to drugs than a coin toss. Such failure is cited as one reason why many pharmaceutical companies are moving away from this area of research.

“Director Gordon has taken public funds to conduct these archaic atrocities, and he’s apparently keeping NIMH in the Dark Ages,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA is calling on NIMH to fund and employ advanced, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients.”

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

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