Why we work to end animal experimentation

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The notorious Forced Swim Test is an archaic animal test that involves forcing rats or mice to swim in an inescapable beaker of water until they ‘give up’ and float. Some researchers use the test as a misguided attempt to mimic depression or hopelessness in humans.1

NZAVS has been campaigning against the use of this test in Aotearoa since 2019.

Over 25,000 people signed our petition asking for this test to be banned in NZ. The NZ Government acknowledged that the Forced Swim Test was largely useless for science, but they did not implement a ban.

We didn’t give up and instead turned our focus on educating the scientific community and the public to encourage researchers to steer clear of this cruel and invalid test.

This change in tactic worked, and the Forced Swim Test has now lost its social license in NZ! Meaning we have put animal ethics committees off approving its use.

We even know of one case where a researcher applied to use the Forced Swim Test but was declined by the animal ethics committee.2

The success of this campaign was recognized internationally and NZAVS was named the winner of the 2022 LUSH Prize.3


A prominent crown research institute in Aotearoa, AgResearch, has become the first institution in the country to prohibit the use of the Forced Swim Test! Learn more about this incredible win here.

Now: Without a ban in place, it’s still possible that NZ researchers will try and use this test in the future. We’ll be monitoring this closely to ensure that the social license of the Forced Swim Test never returns.

Learn more below!


With your help we can end animal experimentation in Aotearoa.