The forced swim test is a rodent behavioural test…

Sep 28, 2022

One type of experiment that has been carried out at universities such as the University of Bristol and the University of Bath is the forced swim test.

The forced swim test is a rodent behavioural test used by scientists to evaluate the usefulness of antidepressant drugs. During the test, an animal (usually a rat or a mouse) is placed in an inescapable tank that is filled with water, whilst researchers watch to see how long they try to stay afloat. Scientists claim that depressed rodents will give up more quickly than happy ones. This test and conclusion has guided many years of research on antidepressants.

However, apart from being ethically abhorrent, the test is also scientifically extremely poor. Ron de Kloet, a neuroendocrinologist at Leiden University Medical Center, states that many researchers feel obligated to use the test, that “people get their grants based on this test… It’s a culture which keeps itself alive, even though most [researchers] will admit that the tests are not showing what they are supposed to do.”

Our campaign will target universities to ensure that cruel experiments, like the forced swim test, are consigned to the history books.

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