For Immediate Release:
March 21, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Las Vegas – Today, PETA supporters took the stage at the Adobe Summit at the Venetian Convention & Expo Center, where they confronted Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks during his speech. He then told those gathered, “We do use animal testing to discover human pharmaceuticals” before protesters were dragged offstage and arrested. It’s the latest in ongoing work to expose the pharmaceutical company’s shameful refusal to ban the cruel forced swim test, which doesn’t help humans.
Photos and video footage are available here.
In the forced swim or “despair” test, mice, hamsters, or other small animals are dosed with a test substance, placed in inescapable beakers of water, and forced to swim to keep from drowning. This is purportedly done to study human depression. The test has been heavily criticized by scientists as a poor model of depression and could rule out effective new drugs for humans. Eli Lilly has tormented 3,400 mice and rats in this test since 1993, but none of the drugs it has attempted to develop by using it are on the market.
“Nearly drowning tiny animals in an attempt to understand human depression is about as useful as tossing tourists into the Venetian canals,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “The forced swim test just doesn’t hold water, so PETA is calling on Eli Lilly’s CEO to ban it at his company.”
It’s not the first time Ricks has faced criticism over the forced swim test. PETA has delivered the message outside his home, during his speech at an Indiana luncheon, and at annual Eli Lilly shareholder meetings, along with tens of thousands of e-mails from consumers.
Numerous other companies—including Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, AbbVie, Roche, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Bristol Myers Squibb—have all banned the test.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.