Before his voice fills stadiums during AFI’s upcoming “Bodies”tour, Davey Havok is speaking out about the cruel forced swim test in a new PETA campaign video released on World Rat Day (April 4).
With a rat named Wee Man perched on his shoulder, the singer explains how small animals are dropped into inescapable beakers of water where they swim desperately, trying not to drown in the “behavioral despair test”—which pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly have used to screen antidepressant drugs.
“Is that depression that you’re measuring?” the musician asks in the video. “No. It’s fear. It’s trauma. It’s fight or flight. … Nothing is gained from that except their suffering. And no animals deserve that. No animals deserve to be treated like that.”
PETA and Havok are urging Eli Lilly to ban the forced swim test, which studies have shown to be notoriously inaccurate. The company has tormented a total of 3,400 mice and rats in this test since 1993, and after nearly 30 years, none of the drugs it has attempted to develop using this test are on the market.
In addition to pushing for modern, animal-free testing methods, Havok advocates against speciesism—the false notion that humans are superior to other species, who are nothing more than commodities to use and abuse at will. Playing with Wee Man, he adds, “All life has value, and it’s not our place to choose which life is more valuable than another … Rats do not deserve to suffer. Just like your dog or your cat, they feel pain and they feel joy. And they give and receive love—just like this little guy right here.”
Havok is part of a growing list of celebrities—including Paul McCartney, Iggy Pop, Dave Navarro, Nikki Sixx, and RZA—who’ve teamed up with PETA to promote its motto, which reads, “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”