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A major Dutch nutritional supplements and personal-care product company has ditched controversial forced swim tests following pressure from vegan campaigners.
DSM Nutritional has confirmed it will no longer use the tests – which involve putting mice, rats, and other small animals in inescapable beakers filled with water and forcing them to swim so they don’t drown – after conversations with animal rights charity PETA.
The company had previously used more than 200 mice and rats in forced swim tests, in order to ‘make health claims about ingredients such as queen bee acid, DHA, and oregano extract’.
Forced swim tests
According to PETA, those who support the test say it can measure an animal’s ‘depression-like behavior’ and identify potentially antidepressant substances.
“But that theory has been debunked,” says the charity. “PETA scientists reviewed published studies and found that dropping animals into water this way was less predictive than a coin toss of a compound’s effectiveness in treating human depression.
“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.”
“Forcing animals to swim frantically in fear for their lives is hideously cruel and tells us nothing about human depression,” PETA neuroscientist, Dr. Emily Trunnell, said in a statement. “DSM Nutritional Products has made the right call in leaving this bad science behind.”
DSM joins Johnson & Johnson and pharmaceutical giant AbbVie in ending its use of this test, and PETA is now calling on Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer to follow suit.