Why Won't Victoria University Commit to No Longer Using the Forced Swim Test?

Why Won't Victoria University Commit to No Longer Using the Forced Swim Test?

NZAVS, SAFE, hundreds of our supporters, hundreds of students and PETA (on behalf of their 6.5 million members and supporters), have now all contacted Victoria University, urging decision-makers to make a commitment to no longer conduct the Forced Swim Test. 

So far, Victoria University isn't willing to change and the future isn't looking good for animals! 

The group in charge of approving the use of animals in cruel and invalid animal tests such as the Forced Swim Test at Victoria University is the Victoria University Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). 

According to Grant Guilford, the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive of Victoria University:


"The animal ethics committee at Victoria University of Wellington is made up of staff from the University, nominated public lay members, nominated and appointed veterinarians, an animal welfare representative from the SPCA and a student representative. Any animal research undertaken at the University undergoes strong scientific and ethical scrutiny before any work can commence." 


What Grant Guilford hasn't mentioned is that the Chair of the Victoria University AEC is also the Deputy Head of the School of Psychology and he has been involved in a lot of animal-based research. For example, he has been a part of research involving: 

  • Separating a group of rat pups from their mothers and then killing them when they are 90 days old to see if the rats have different levels of neurotensin in parts of their brain than pups who weren’t separated.  All rats were killed “by a two-second high energy focused microwave irradiation and several brain regions were obtained by micropuncture". Read more here. 
  • Injecting pregnant rats then subjecting their offspring to experiments involving nicotine self-administration in a study looking at the relationship between nicotine and schizophrenia. Read more here. 
  • Teaching rats to self-administer MDMA. Read more here.

Do we need to point out the obvious conflict of interest that exists here? 

The Head of the Animal Ethics Committee, who has approved the use of the Forced Swim Test in the past, is the same person who has conducted the awful studies listed above.

This isn't okay and we need your help to put a stop to the cruel and invalid Forced Swim Test at Victoria University — Send a message, urging decision-makers at Victoria University to make a commitment to no longer approve the use of animals in cruel animal testing involving the Forced Swim Test!



More about Animal Ethics Committees:

Animal Ethics Committees are left to make important decisions that affect the lives of thousands of animals each year, behind closed doors and in secrecy. 


The guidelines currently in place for each AEC are:

  • AEC’s have to have at least 4 members, a vet, SPCA rep and layperson 
  • AEC’s must regularly grade approved projects and report on them to MPI
  • AEC’s are independently reviewed by MPI accredited reviewers at least once every 5 years.


There is no:

  • Requirement for any type of expert on non-animal based RTT methods to be a member 
  • Requirement for the relevant experience each member has to be made public 
  • Requirement for people who have conducted animal experimentation to notify the public of this 
  • Maximum number of people who have conducted animal experimentation allowed in an AEC
  • Inspections of RTT facilities taken place by SPCA Animal Welfare Inspectors
  • Public insight or input into the approval of animals used for RTT in NZ. The only public accountability that exists is the annual animal usage stats submitted to MPI each year and only some of these forms are made public. The results from these forms are summarised and presented by MPI.