Ahead of the Home Office’s policy review of the controversial forced swim test – in which mice, rats, or other animals are tormented and killed – some of the UK’s top universities have confirmed to PETA that they do not and will not use the cruel experiment. So why is the University of Bristol continuing to defend this debunked method?
Among others, Newcastle University, The University of Manchester, the University of Nottingham, the University of Leeds, the University of Southampton, the University of Warwick, the University of York, the University of Liverpool, the University of Brighton, and the University of St Andrews confirmed that they neither use the near-drowning test nor intend to do so in the future.
The Forced Swim Test Explained
In the discredited test, experimenters place rats, mice, or other small animals into inescapable beakers of water and watch them desperately swim in search of an escape. The test is carried out on the absurd assumption that the time it takes animals to stop swimming and start floating can tell us something about mental health conditions in humans.
Once the test is complete, experimenters kill the animals – by gassing, blunt force trauma to the head, an overdose of anaesthetics, or breaking their necks – sometimes to study their brains.
Widely Debunked Science
The test has been heavily criticised, and experts from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have clarified that it is not required for the development of antidepressants and said it could even hinder progress at finding effective new treatments.
Forcing rats to swim with no possible means of escape teaches us nothing about the complexities of human mental health conditions.
Take Action for Mice and Rats
The forced swim test is cruel and needless. Top universities are turning away from using it, and the Home Office has commissioned a review of it – and rightly so. PETA is calling on the University of Bristol to end this cruel experiment and embrace modern, animal-free methods, as other institutions have already done, and urging the Home Office to develop a policy that prevents licensing any use of this archaic experiment. Please join us.