Victory! Following nearly a year of PETA pressure, the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, has committed to no longer conducting or funding cruel forced swim test experiments on animals. These tests—in which small animals are dropped into inescapable beakers of water and forced to swim to keep from drowning—dubiously claim to shed light on human depression. However, the test is less accurate than a coin toss in determining the effectiveness of antidepressant medications, and 18 years of these experiments at Pfizer didn’t lead to any marketable drugs to treat human depression.
According to published papers, Pfizer employees had used at least 1,270 mice and rats in forced swim test experiments since 1991.
This victory means no more small animals will be terrified in near-drowning experiments.
PETA’s bold protests against Pfizer pushed the company 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 and other animal activist organizations: It’s time to invest in humane, advanced, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients.
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Joyce is a passionate vegan activist and has a BSc in Nutrition from the University of Washington. Except for discovering and reporting breaking vegan news and top industry stories, she is now pursuing a full medical degree, which she believes will give her more credibility while spreading the vegan message, and inspiring people to live a healthier cruelty-free lifestyle.