Victory! Following nearly a year of pressure from PETA and our affiliates, the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, has committed to no longer conducting or funding the cruel forced swim test.
These tests – in which small animals are dropped into inescapable beakers of water and forced to swim to keep from drowning – claim to shed light on human depression. However, they don’t accurately predict whether a drug will work as a human anti-depressant and can yield positive results for compounds that aren’t prescribed as human anti-depressants, such as caffeine, and negative results for compounds that are. Eighteen years of these experiments at Pfizer hasn’t led to any marketable drugs to treat human depression.
According to published papers, Pfizer employees have used at least 1,270 mice and rats in forced swim tests since 1991. This victory means no more small animals will be terrified in near-drowning experiments.
Campaigns led by PETA and our international affiliates pushed Pfizer to join other leading pharmaceutical giants – including Johnson & Johnson, Roche, AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Sage Therapeutics, AstraZeneca, and Novo Nordisk A/S – that have banned the forced swim test. This exciting progress for animals means that companies agree with PETA: it’s time to invest in humane, advanced, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients.
The bottom line: the forced swim test is cruel, and it’s bad science. These experiments do nothing more than terrify animals and delay the development of effective treatments that are so desperately needed.
What You Can Do
More than half a million supporters of PETA and our international affiliates took action, e-mailing Pfizer to urge it to commit to banning the forced swim test – and it worked. You can join our powerful online Activist Network to encourage other companies to be kind to animals.
Pharma giants Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly have refused to enact a ban on this cruel and useless test. Below, you can contact both companies with the quick click of a button to let them know that experiments on animals are unethical and a waste of both resources and lives.