A campaign to ban the Forced Swim Test in New Zealand is in line with public opinion, according to a new survey commissioned by the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) and SAFE.
The Forced Swim Test forces small animals such as rats or mice to swim in an inescapable beaker of water until they ‘give up’ and float. Some researchers use the Forced Swim Test in an effort to mimic depression or hopelessness in humans
Just 14% of respondents in the Horizon Research survey supported the continued use of the Forced Swim Test. More than half (54%) of the respondents in the Horizon Research survey supported a ban on the Forced Swim Test in New Zealand, while 32% of respondents were not sure.
“I’m not surprised that a majority of Kiwis want to see an end to this cruel and invalid animal test. We’re a nation of animal lovers and we don’t tolerate this kind of treatment of animals,” says Tara Jackson, NZAVS Executive Director.
“We are in a time where the use of this test is being scrutinised widely by the public, the scientific community, and the pharmaceutical industry, which is publicly banning its use. This issue is relevant on a global scale,” added Miss Jackson.
Pharmaceutical giants such as Johnson and Johnson and Sage Therapeutics have publicly committed to no longer use or fund this test. Three of the top ten pharmaceutical companies worldwide (in terms of revenue) have committed to banning the use of the Forced Swim Test.
Over 25,000 people signed the NZAVS and SAFE petition asking the New Zealand government to ban the Forced Swim Test and to conduct a full review and evaluation of the validity of animal-based psychological tests in New Zealand. The petition was presented to Parliament at the start of the month and is now with the Economic Development, Science, and Innovation Committee.
“We are hopeful that select committee members will do what is ethically and scientifically correct and listen to the nation. We don’t want this archaic experiment to be associated with Aotearoa any longer. The Government needs to act now and listen to public opinion,” says Debra Ashton, SAFE CEO.