After discussions with PETA US, Johnson & Johnson announced that it will no longer use the widely discredited forced swim test, in which mice, rats, and sometimes other small animals are placed in inescapable beakers filled with water and made to swim in order to keep from drowning. The company pledged not to use the test in the future in its own laboratories or in outside ones.
Johnson & Johnson joins AbbVie in ending its use of this test, and PETA US is now calling on Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Eli Lilly to follow suit.
Johnson & Johnson and other experimenters have claimed that the forced swim test serves as a model of depression in animals and can be used to gauge the effectiveness of new medications for the condition, but other scientists refute this. PETA US scientists reviewed published studies and found that dropping animals into water this way was less predictive than a coin toss of a drug’s effectiveness in humans. 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.
Last year, Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen published an article describing how it conducted the forced swim test on mice who’d been injected with a toxin. Previous papers were published by authors affiliated with the companies in 2016, 2015, 2013, 2008, 2007, and 2006.
Join PETA US in calling for an end to cruel drowning tests – act now!