Another Lab Hangs Mice by Their Tails for Cruel Experiments

Natassia Tuhovak, June 22, 2021

Imagine being suspended upside-down for a week.

Your feet would scream out in pain from your whole weight hanging on such a small and sensitive area of your body. Relief would come only by shifting your weight to your arms, which can touch the ground. This relief, though, is brief before your arms collapse from exhaustion.

This scenario is something experimenters force mice to endure at the University of Louisville.

Mice hang by their tails for an entire week. Their front feet can touch the ground, but a majority of their body weight is put on their tail. The lab posted a document stating, “The mice will be suspended at a 30-40 degree torso angle for a period of 1 week to allow time for significant atrophy to occur.”

This suspension practice is excruciating, terrifying, and unnatural. When mice get picked up by their tails in the wild, it usually means a predator has caught them. In the lab, mice show similar signs of distress just like their relatives in the wild. Experimenters force mice to experience the feeling of being caught by a predator for an entire week with no relief.

Experimenters provide food and water to the mice, but fail to provide other important things like social interaction and burrowing opportunities. Burrowing is an instinct that helps mice feel secure from predators. In lab cages, mice endure inescapable vulnerability without any sense of comfort or security.

You may be wondering, “What experiment is so important that it has to create so much stress in vulnerable animals?” The answer: No good reason exists.

The experimenters are studying the effects of muscle atrophy, the wasting away or the decline in the effectiveness of muscles. Atrophy may result from birth defects, poor nutrition, poor circulation, or lack of exercise of the muscle.

Muscle atrophy in mice is completely different from muscle atrophy in humans. Human clinical studies, with willing participants already experiencing atrophy, would bring much more human-relevant results at the expense of none.

The University of Louisville is torturing mice in the name of science just because they can.

They’re not the only lab that does this, either. Hanging mice by their tails is a common form of torture experimenters do to these small animals. Experimenters view mice as nothing more than lab equipment.

We were able to uncover these horrific experiments through open-records requests.

You can help stop these cruel and unnecessary experiments.

Demand the University of Louisville prioritizes the reduction and prevention of animal pain and suffering in experiments.

Speak Out to Protect Animals