Video Reveals Horrific Tests on Animals at National Institute of Mental Health

PETA Urges NIMH to Pull the Plug on Animal Tests in Which Mice Are Nearly Drowned, Electrically Shocked, Hung by Their Tails, and More

For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Bethesda, Md. – This morning, PETA released video footage obtained through the Freedom of Information Act revealing that cruel and scientifically worthless psychological tests were conducted on mice at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). PETA sent a letter to NIMH Director Joshua Gordon demanding that the institute stop conducting and funding these tests and redirect funds to superior, non-animal research methods that benefit humans.

The four tests on animals used by NIMH 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; the foot shock test, in which mice or rats are locked inside a chamber with an electrified grid floor and shocked; and the social defeat test, in which animals are put in a situation that forces one to attack another repeatedly in order to produce psychological stress, depression, and a sense of helplessness in the attacked animals. These tests don’t advance our understanding of mental health issues in human patients. The fact that experiments are performed on other animals is cited as a leading reason why so many neurobehavioral drugs fail in human clinical trials.

“NIMH officials should examine their own mental health for tormenting animals in experiments that fail to help humans suffering from mental illness,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “It’s unethical, it’s bad science, and it must end—beginning with Director Gordon’s own chamber of horrors.”

Gordon has a long history of conducting experiments on animals, including 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.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is the human-supremacist view that other species are commodities.

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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