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To: House of Representatives

End the use of the cruel Forced Swim Test NZ

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Campaign created by
Tara Jackson

This campaign has ended.

End the use of the cruel Forced Swim Test NZ

To the House of Representatives,

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the New Zealand Parliament enact an immediate ban on the Forced Swim Test in New Zealand to prevent this cruel and invalid test from being conducted nationwide.

We also ask that a formal review and evaluation is conducted by Parliament on the validity of all animal-based psychological tests (i.e. The Tail Suspension Test, the Elevated-Plus-Maze Test, the Morris Water Maze Test etc.) used in New Zealand.

Why is this important?

A cruel and scientifically flawed animal test called the “Forced Swim Test” is sadly being used in Aotearoa - there is currently no law in place to stop this horrific test from going ahead!

The Forced Swim Test is used as a misguided attempt to mimic depression or hopelessness in humans. A small animal, usually a mouse or rat, is given an experimental treatment and is then placed into a beaker partially filled with water. Unable to escape, touch the bottom or hold on to anything, the animal will paddle desperately until they give up and float.

The amount of time that the animal spends struggling versus floating is measured. The claim is that when animals spend more time floating, they are deemed to be more “depressed.”

This test has been conducted recently by researchers at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Otago. When students were made aware that this test had been carried out at their institute, the reaction was overwhelmingly one of shock and disappointment.

Not only is this test cruel but it has no relevance to human depression - there is no single sign or symptom of human depression modelled in the test.

An analysis ( conducted with data from four major pharmaceutical companies found that the Forced Swim Test was less predictive than chance at determining if a compound would have antidepressant efficacy in humans.

In order to find real, effective treatments for human depression, addiction or any other human condition, human-relevant research methods should be used, i.e. mathematical or computer modelling of human systems, or drug-repurposing programmes.

We are currently seeing a global shift away from this archaic test - AbbVie, Johnson and Johnson, DSM Nutritional Products, NutriFusion LLC and Astraea Therapeutics have all committed to not funding or conducting the Forced Swim Test. This shows that even the pharmaceutical industry is recognising this test as outdated and irrelevant. Now let's make sure NZ keep up!

NZAVS and SAFE have joined forces to ask the NZ Government to not only ban the Forced Swim Test in NZ but to also conduct a full review and evaluation on the validity of all animal tests used for psychological tests in NZ.

Help stop the cruel and invalid Forced Swim Test from hurting any more animals in New Zealand - sign the petition today.

Read more here -
Donate to this cause here -

By signing this petition your information will be shared with NZAVS ( and SAFE ( who will get in contact from time to time about this campaign and others. You are free to opt out at any time.

How it will be delivered

We will deliver the petition to Parliament.

Reasons for signing

  • Let the employees of such "studies" swim for their lives. Let's see how long they keep it until they drown.
  • This is disgusting.
  • This adds nothing significant to, and is a stain on, the community of science


2019-06-04 14:41:22 +1200

Kiwi Actress, Holly Shervey is supporting our call to ban the use of the Forced Swim Test in NZ -

2019-06-04 14:40:14 +1200

Kiwi Comedian, Writer and star of What We Do in the Shadows, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer has announced his support for a ban on the Forced Swim Test in New Zealand -

2019-04-25 03:22:58 +1200

10,000 signatures reached

2019-01-22 15:14:01 +1300

5,000 signatures reached

2019-01-18 17:22:40 +1300

1,000 signatures reached

2019-01-18 14:47:44 +1300

500 signatures reached

2019-01-18 12:38:12 +1300

100 signatures reached

2019-01-18 12:23:33 +1300

50 signatures reached

2019-01-18 12:16:16 +1300

25 signatures reached

2019-01-18 12:06:19 +1300

10 signatures reached