A golden and simple opportunity for compassionate people to help effect change in governmental policy for the good of animals has presented itself, and PETA strongly encourages you to take action now before the public comment deadline of January 15, 2020, to have your voice heard loud and clear.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is currently requesting responses to its 2020 Strategic Plan for Research. This is an opportunity to demand that NIMH immediately stop the cruel and meaningless forced swim test, tail suspension test, footshock test, and social defeat experiments on animals that the agency conducts or funds with millions in taxpayer dollars.
It’s a perfect time to demand that NIMH begin phasing out all animal experiments and prioritize more advanced, non-animal models because animal testing does not advance human health. Specifically, 90% of preclinical tests, most of which involve the use of animals, fail to lead to treatments for humans, and more than 95% of pharmaceutical drugs that test safe in animals fail in human clinical trials.
Top pharmaceutical companies—including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S, Sage Therapeutics, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Bayer—have agreed to ban the forced swim test following discussions with PETA scientists.
But NIMH continues, even though some of its own bigwigs don’t even believe these tests work. Director Joshua Gordon tweeted that the forced swim and tail suspension tests are “terrible,” have “wasted time and [money],” and “cannot, by definition, capture the full complexity of mental illnesses as seen in humans.” He also told the scientific journal Nature that his agency is “discouraging the use” of these animal tests, but he later backtracked and said that they are “crucial.”
There are two main points to include when writing your polite letter or electronic comment:
- NIMH must immediately discontinue the use and taxpayer funding of cruel and scientifically meaningless behavioral tests on animals, specifically the forced swim test, tail suspension test, foot shock test, and social defeat experiments.
- NIMH must also more broadly phase out funding of animal experiments and immediately prioritize human-relevant, non-animal research methods, since there is overwhelming scientific evidence that animals are poor models for advancing human health.
So take action while you can by letting NIMH know it’s time to stop cruel animal tests. But hurry—the deadline to submit a public comment is January 15.