Major pharma company bans 'hideously cruel' near-drowning tests | Totally Vegan Buzz
Major pharma company bans ‘hideously cruel’ near-drowning tests
Image: PETA

A major pharma company has abandoned controversial ‘near drowning’ tests on animals following pressure from activists.

Johnson & Johnson announced it will no longer use forced swim tests, in which mice, rats, and sometimes other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers filled with water and made to swim to keep from drowning.

Animal rights group PETA had been in talks with the company and urged it to rethink its policy.

Johnson & Johnson pledged not to use the test in the future in its own laboratories or in outside labs.


The pharma company joins AbbVie in ending its use of this test, and PETA US told Totally Vegan Buzz in a statement that it is now calling on other major companies to follow suit.

Experimenters have claimed forced swim tests serve as a model of depression in animals and can be used to test the effectiveness of new medications, but PETA said that other scientists have discredited the methods.

PETA US scientists reviewed published studies and found swim tests’ accuracy in predicting a drug’s effectiveness in humans was less than 50 percent.


Animals used in these tests frantically try to escape by attempting to climb up the sides of the beakers or even diving underwater in search of an exit.

They paddle furiously, desperately trying to keep their heads above water. Eventually, most start to float.

PETA US neuroscientist Dr Emily Trunnell said: “Johnson & Johnson has done the right thing in pulling the plug on the forced swim test, which is not just bad science but also hideously cruel.”

Trunnell also urged other major companies to follow suit.

PETA – whose motto reads that ‘animals are not ours to experiment on’ – opposes speciesism, which the company said is a ‘human-supremacist worldview’.

What do you think of forced swim tests? Tell us in the comments section below.

Published by Oli Gross

Oli’s career and personal ethical values both help shape his reporting of the diverse world of veganism. His background is in local newspaper and magazine journalism, and his work has included reporting court cases, celebrity interviews, business analysis, food and drink features and government legislation.



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