Activists Protest Forced Swim Test at Victoria University

Posted on by PETA Australia

More than 80 activists from PETA, The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society, SAFE for Animals, Speak Up for Animals NZ, and Helping You Help Animals joined forces at Victoria University of Wellington to call for an end to the near-drowning forced swim test, during which experimenters put terrified mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs into inescapable containers filled with water and force them to swim for their lives.

Despite receiving more than 12,000 e-mails from compassionate people all around the world,Victoria University has still refused to ban this notoriously cruel test. So protesters took the fight to its front door.


The traumatised animals will first try to escape by attempting to climb up the sides of the container or diving underwater in search of an exit. They paddle furiously, desperately trying to keep their heads above water, until eventually they start to float.

Some experimenters misleadingly claim that animals who spend more time floating are “depressed”, and somehow, this is supposed to tell them something significant about human depression. However, this is nonsense. Scientific experts have concluded that this test is worthless, since these small animals differ so drastically from humans. They also argue that floating is more likely an indication that animals are learning how to cope with a situation, conserving energy, and adapting to a new environment.

A huge international shift away from the forced swim test is already underway. Pharmaceutical companies Johnson and Johnson, Abbvie, Boeringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, Roche, and Novo Nordisk A/S have all committed to no longer conducting of funding this experiment.

It’s time for Victoria University to listen to its students and the wider community and commit to ending this cruel, wasteful, and unscientific test on animals.

If you haven’t already, please sign and share our action alert calling for a ban now.