Created with the harmless intention of raising money to fight disease, the ALS ice bucket challenge has produced some terribly unfortunate side effects — take the teen who jumped off a cliff to his death, or the man who accidentally engulfed his head in a ball of fire.
Now, if numerous Chinese news sources are to be believed, scientists at the Affiliated Hospital of Henan Institute for Health are conducting awful experiments on mice, all in the name of the viral social media challenge. The experiments reportedly involve submerging the mice in ice water and timing how long it takes before they die.
It all started last Friday, when Chinese philanthropist and media figure Chen Guangbiao participated in his own special edition of the ice bucket challenge. He climbed into a tub of ice water, and claimed to have stayed there for a period of thirty minutes.
Afterward, Mr. Chen made an offer on his Weibo account. “If anyone can sit in this ice water longer than my 30 minutes, I will donate another one million yuan,” Shanghaiist quotes him as saying. “This challenge stands for six days.”
Determined to solve the mystery once and for all, scientists are now allegedly holding mice in ice water to see if it’s possible for animals to survive in ice water for as long as Mr. Chen claims he was submerged. After just five minutes in the -0.12 degree Celsius water, the mice died — thereby proving, according to reports, that Mr. Chen’s a big ol’ faker.
Again, we’re still wary on the validity of these claims. It’s possible that the photos could have come from a completely separate experiment, and the news sites made the ice bucket challenge connection on their own. But if they’re true, besides our obvious concern for the poor mice subjected to this needless experiment, we also can’t help but wonder whether this is really the best use of scientific professionals’ time and efforts.