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DROWNING IN FEAR: Forced swim tests on mice at University of Bath slammed by animal welfare group

In the university experiments, the mice are placed in an inescapable sheer-sided beaker of water and forced to swim. The mice then stop swimming and start to float.

IMOGEN MCGUCKIN: The use of forced swim tests on mice at the University of Bath has been slammed by an animal rights group. In experiments conducted at the university, the mice are placed in an inescapable sheer-sided beaker of water and forced to swim. The mice then stop swimming and start to float. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) obtained video footage of the tests through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the university.

It is thought that when the mice feel despair, they stop swimming and start floating. Researchers use this change in behaviour to test the effect of antidepressant drugs, intended for humans. The drugs have been shown to alleviate the rodents’ despair and extend their swimming time… PETA argued that the test had no academic value and that floating could be a “positive indicator of learning, saving energy, and adapting to a new environment”.

The group’s science policy manager, Dr Julia Baines, said: “Repeatedly subjecting mice to a near-drowning experience teaches us nothing about the complexities of human depression and doesn’t tell us what antidepressants will be effective in humans. “PETA is urging the University of Bath to join King’s College London and leading pharmaceutical companies by shunning the forced swim test in favour of advanced, animal-free research methods that might actually help human patients”. SOURCE…

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