Ricky Gervais has been left "appalled" by the revelation scientists at Cardiff University sewed kittens' eyes together for an experiment.
More than 30 kittens were used in the tests - branded "sickening" by the comedian - to find out how the brain responds to sensory deprivation.
Five had their eyes sewn closed for up to a week and all of the creatures were later put down.
The Office creator told The Mirror, "I am appalled that kittens are being deprived of sight by having their eyelids sewn shut. I thought sickening experiments like these were a thing of the past."
Gervais said the tests - which saw the eyes of kittens sewn together - were 'sickening'
Bosses at the university have defended the tests, which ended in 2010, insisting they were carried out in a bid to find a cure for lazy eyes in children.
A statement from the learning establishment reads, "Cardiff University rejects the accusation this experiment is cruel or unnecessary. It is impossible to use any other kind of technique for this study.
"The work was approved by both the University's ethical review process and the Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit as part of the licensing process."
Dominic Sullivan, Cats Protection’s Director of Legal Services, said: “We are not sure why Cardiff University used cats in this case.
"The law is quite clear, a licence cannot be granted by the Home Office to use cats in scientific experiments unless animals of no other species are suitable for the purpose of the programme. This might be the case in, say, developing a cat vaccine.
"Cats Protection hasn’t read the research but using cats in experiments for academic papers on sensory deprivation seems completely unjustifiable. It is also totally out of step with the Government’s avowed commitment to new European legislation committed to reducing the number of animals used in these type of experiments.
"There needs to be far greater transparency and openness by institutions such as the University of Cardiff who carry out these experiments - and by the Home Office when granting these licences.”
Nine ethically questionable animal experiments that made scientific history
'Spiders on Drugs' might sound like the name of a punk band. But the phrase describes a 1995 experiment in which NASA scientist David Noever and his colleagues gave spiders various drugs and and observed how each affected the spiders' ability to spin a web. Spiders on speed worked fast but produced incomplete webs. Spiders given the sedative chloral hydrate began with a basic structure, only to "drop off". Spiders on marujana were too mellow even to finish their webs. But the worst webs were spun by spiders on...caffeine. *This video isn't a serious measurement of spiders on drugs
They say elephants never forget, but do they have flashbacks? In 1962, researchers at Oklahoma's Lincoln Park Zoo gave LSD to test its effect on elephants. They gave an Asiatic elephant called Tusko 297 mg of the hallucinogenic drug (in humans, 0.1 mg is enough to trigger a trip lasting hours). Long story short, Tusko collapsed within minutes and choked to death. In their paper - the scientists noted that "It appears the elephant is highly sensitive to LSD - a finding which may prove valuable in elephant control work in Africa".
No, there was no voodoo involved. In 1934 Robert Cornish from the University of California asphyxiated four fox terriers and attempted to bring them back to life. He did so by rocking the dogs' bodies up and down to simulate circulation and injecting them with adrenaline and anticoagulants. Of the four, two terriers actually did return to life. "Lazarus IV" was blind and physically disabled but "Lazarus V" seemed almost normal. Dr. Cornish hoped one day to try his experiments on a human but never got the chance. This video suggests that the Russians conducted similar experiments.
In the 1950s, American psychologist Harry Harlow separated two monkeys at birth and distributed their food through inanimate "mothers." One mother was made of wire, the other cloth. Even though the wire mother provided nourishment, the monkeys spent most of their time on the cloth one. Metal just isn't for mommies!
In 1997, University of Massachusetts scientist Charles Vacanti and his colleagues managed to grow a human ear on a mouse. Dr. Vacanti implanted a nutrient-rich mesh on the back of a genetically engineered mouse, injected young human cells and watched it grow into a full-sized ear. The ear didn't hear.
Last year, researchers from South Korea genetically engineered a female beagle to glow green under ultraviolet light when given a particular antibiotic. The scientists were interested new approaches to inducing genetic diseases in animals such as Alzheimer's.
Here's an experiment that seems like a cross between 'I, Robot' and 'Planet of the Apes"' in 2008, researchers taught a macaque to control a robot via two sensors implanted in its brain. The hope? Find new ways to help people with spinal injuries.
In 2008, scientists from the Macquerie University of Australia and the University of Illinois dripped liquefied cocaine on the backs of bees in an attempt to measure the effect the drug had on humans. The bees still kept busy, but they seemed to be more "excited" about their work--and like humans, they seemed to experience withdrawal, which hurt their ability to work.
Just what sorts of risks do tasers pose to humans? A 2010 study conducted in sheep was conduced to help find out. Researchers dosed sheep with methamphetamine and then tased them. What happened? Some small sheep showed heart symptoms, but none of the animals died. Watch video for a related experiment.