Universities experimented on almost one million animals within just one year, with testing in institutions amounting to around half of all animal experiments in Britain, a charity has revealed.
Oxford, Edinburgh, UCL, KCL and Cambridge were the worst offenders, experimenting on 930,126 animals between them during 2014.
Freedom of Information responses provided to Cruelty Free International show experiments were performed on numerous species, including monkeys, rabbits, sheep, guinea pigs, ferrets, fish, birds, frogs, rats and mice.
According to the charity, primate experiments carried out at some of the universities involved monkeys being deprived of food or water, having electrodes surgically implanted into their skulls as well as into their arm, hand and finger muscles, or being trapped inside plastic boxes while being blasted with loud noises.
Another experiment included rats being injected with acid to cause brain damage, or restrained in plastic tubes and forced to swim in a cylinder of water for 10 minutes before being decapitated and dissected.
Pregnant sheep were injected with testosterone twice a week throughout their pregnancy while others had their ovaries punctured during surgery.
Dr Katy Taylor, Director of Science at Cruelty Free International, said: “The public will be shocked to learn that five of the UK’s leading universities are responsible for testing on almost one million animals, despite an increasing number of universities recognising this isn’t the way to do research.
"We urge them to leave this archaic practice behind and move towards developing innovative and humane research methods for the 21st century.”