Mice Forced to Experience Chronic Stress at Otago Uni

Mice Forced to Experience Chronic Stress at Otago Uni


It's the 7th day of our 12 Days of Christmas University of Otago exposé! 

Today, the experiment we're exposing is on mice who were subject to various cruel tests...

Young mice were forced to experience chronic stress for two weeks. They were subject to stressful situations such as having their cage being shook for 30min, being hung high by their tail or being trapped in a tiny cone or in a fridge. Afterwards, they were forced to swim in the notorious Forced Swim Test to see the effect of the stress.

This study was published in 2021 — which shows that cruel experiments like this are still currently happening at the University of Otago. 

Images: Examples of what the Tail Suspension Test (source) and the physical restraint tests look like (source).


  • Groups of mice were divided into control and stress treatment groups.
  • The stress groups (30 mice in total) were used in a series of stress experiments. 

Stress experiments included:

  1. Isolation: They were made to be alone all night.
  2. Cold exposure: They were put in a fridge with a temperature of 4-6°C for 15min. 
  3. Physical restraint: Their entire bodies were restrained in a small cone for 10min.
  4. Tail suspension: They were hung upside down by their tails for 8min
  5. The Shaker Test: Their whole cage was put on a shaker for 30min while they remained inside. 
  6. The Open Field Test: They were kept alone in an open arena for 10min.
  • Some mice were forced to swim in the cruel and invalid Forced Swim Test, here they were placed in an inescapable water-filled cylinder for 5min.
  • After testing, which lasted two weeks, animals were killed by decapitating them to take blood and organs.
  • Some females also had vaginal smears done to them daily to track their cycles. These animals were killed in the end with an anaesthetic overdose and had their hearts flushed with a toxic substance, then their ovaries were dissected.

This was all done to try and help us understand more about the ways in which chronic stress can impact humans, a barbaric concept!

Animal testing is both cruel and unreliable — a mouse being hung upside down by their tail, does not show us how stress impacts humans.

Here are three ways you can help today:

  1. Grab one of our gifts that keep giving! We have a series of special Christmas packs that you can get for your loved ones, these contain special posters or prints.
  2. Sign our petition aimed at ending animal experimentation: Help us by calling on the New Zealand Government to start prioritising non-animal-based research methods and replacing the use of animals in science!
  3. Download our guide on the top ten ways that you can help end animal testing!


  • Learn more about our 12 Days of Christmas campaign, which is exposing more cruelty at Otago. We will be uploading a new experiment that we are exposing to this page every day until the 12th December.
  • Find out why Otago University is at the centre of this campaign.
  • Access the the full paper we have exposed above on our references page.