Human Vanity at Its Worst: Experimenters Torment and Kill Mice for Grey-Hair Experiment

Posted by on February 11, 2020 | Permalink

Experimenters in the US subjected gentle mice to highly stressful and sometimes painful procedures for several weeks before finally killing them. All this was done purely for the sake of human vanity – to arrive at the obvious conclusion that stress can accelerate the process through which hair turns grey. 

Some mice were injected with resiniferatoxin – a substance with pain-inducing properties similar to the chilli pepper extract capsaicin but 1,000 times more potent – to induce physical pain that would cause them to become stressed.

Others were psychologically tormented. Experimenters subjected them to a random selection of two stressful events per day – including tipping their cages, starving them of social contact by keeping them in isolation, dampening their bedding, and keeping the lights on all day and night. Another group of mice were subjected to “restraint stress”, whereby they were forced into tight plastic tubes like the one in the video below and left for hours at a time:

The pain and suffering inflicted on these mice doesn’t end there.

To investigate exactly how stress turned their hair grey, experimenters shaved them and removed pieces of their skin. They then surgically removed the adrenal glands of some mice, injected others with a bacterial toxin, and exposed yet others to lethal doses of radiation before carrying out bone marrow transplants to ensure their survival. Once the fur grew back, the experimenters plucked approximately 100 hairs from different patches across the body of each mouse. 

Help Stop the Torment and Killing of Mice

  • If you’re stressed about turning grey, leave animals in peace and reach for the vegan, cruelty-free hair dye, which you can easily find in shops and at hairdressers. Try products by Lush, Herbatint, and Bleach London.
  • Sadly, it’s too late for the mice who were abused and killed in this experiment, but you can help prevent mice from suffering in the forced swim test, in which they’re dropped into inescapable containers of water and forced to swim for their lives to avoid drowning. Please let pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly know that experiments on animals are unethical and a waste of resources and animals’ lives: