Video: PETA Supporters Crash University of Bristol Alumni Event to Slam Cruel Near-Drowning Test

For Immediate Release:
May 15, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

New York

A throng of PETA supporters holding signs reading, “Drop the Forced Swim Test,” confronted University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President Evelyn Welch during an alumni event at The Century Association yesterday in protest of the U.K. school’s refusal to ban a near-drowning test on animals. Photos and footage of the disruption are available here.

This action is the latest in PETA’s campaign calling attention to the cruel test, in which animals are subjected to the fear of drowning under the erroneous assumption that it can reveal something about mental health conditions in humans.

In the widely discredited forced swim test, experimenters induce panic in vulnerable small animals like rats and mice, who may have been dosed with a test substance, by putting them into inescapable cylinders of water, where they swim for fear of drowning. They attempt to climb the steep sides of the container and even dive underwater to look for an escape. Once the test is complete, experimenters often kill the animals.

“This bogus test has all the scientific rigor of tossing people accused of being witches into lakes,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on the University of Bristol to stop tarnishing its reputation with junk science and invest in modern, human-relevant research methods.”

Leading institutions, including the universities of Brighton, Exeter, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, and Southampton as well as King’s College London and Newcastle University, have indicated that they neither use the forced swim test nor intend to do so in the future.

The University of Bristol still conducts the test and remains one of the last institutions in the U.K. to continue its use even though the Home Office recently announced its intent to eliminate it in the country in the near future. This will be the first time a specific test on rodents has been banned in the U.K.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—points out thatEvery Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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