On 14th March 2024, the New South Wales Parliament, Australia, banned forced smoke inhalation and forced swim tests on animals, in what is believed to be the first ban of these cruel and pointless animal experiments in the world. Any breaches of this ban will be punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $3300. 

The bill, named “Animal Research Amendment (Prohibition of Forced Swim Tests and Forced Smoke Inhalation Experiments) Bill 2023”, amends the Animal Research Act 1985, and passed the NSW upper chamber, the Legislative Council, on 7th February 2024. It now has been passed by the NSW lower house, the Legislative Assembly. Animal rights organisations are now hoping that other Australian states will pass similar bans. 

Forcing rodents to swim has been done to test anti-depressants, but the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommended against the experiments. Smoke inhalation tests involve mainly rodents having cigarette smoke pumped up their nostrils for at least an hour twice a day for up to 18 weeks.

Animal Justice MP Emma Hurst introduced the bill to parliament, and she said, “As a former psychologist, I can tell you this is not science… There are campaigns around the world to outlaw these experiments, but we are the first to implement these laws globally.

Between 2018 and 2021, 91 animals died after experiments in the smoking tower at the University of Newcastle (now demolished).

Rachel Smith, a spokesperson for the Animal Free Science Advocacy, said, “The forced swim test and forced smoke inhalation have been widely discredited both scientifically and ethically and this ban cannot come soon enough. This ban will not only relieve animal suffering but progress medical research, with many replacement methods in the fields of respiratory and mental health research based on human and not mice biology available.”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.