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Protesters against animal testing will take on Vic

The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) and SAFE will be protesting at Victoria University’s Kelburn Campus at 11am today over the institution’s use of the Forced Swim Test.

The Forced Swim Test involves forcing small animals such as rats or mice to swim in an inescapable beaker of water until they ‘give up’ and float. The test reportedly attempts to mimic depression or hopelessness in humans.

The protest is part of NZAVS and SAFE’s campaign to ban the Forced Swim Test. Both animal rights organisations say the test is cruel and invalid and have been joined by other groups including Helping You Help Animals (HUHA), Speak Up For Animals (SUFA) and PETA Australia.

NZAVS Executive Director Tara Jackson says the growing chorus of voices against the Forced Swim Test can no longer be ignored.

"Today we will be representing the thousands of people who have called on Vic Uni to ban the Forced Swim Test," says Miss Jackson.

"Small animals such as rats and mice are being subjected to needless suffering in a test that fails to model human depression. It’s less predictive than chance at determining if a compound would have efficacy in humans."

"Victoria University is wasting valuable resources, including time and money, each time they approve this test."

Today’s protest follows NZAVS and SAFE’s action last month at the Victoria University Open Day. A team of volunteers accompanied a billboard with video footage of the Forced Swim Test, to raise awareness of the test within the current and future student body. Many current students and members of faculty were shocked to learn that the test takes place at the institute.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton says this is an area where the University can show some leadership by listening to its students and the wider public and make a progressive and compassionate choice for animals.

"A shift away from this test is happening on an international level so ending the use of the Forced Swim Test is inevitable. It’s time for Victoria University to make New Zealand proud and ban this completely invalid and cruel animal test."


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