Activists at the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (Buav) campaign group sent an undercover agent to work in a lab at Imperial College London, where he reportedly witnessed several incidents of animals being provided with insufficient anaesthesia or pain relief.
Buav bosses are calling on the U.K. government to impose sanctions on the respected education establishment, and rock veteran May - who studied mathematics and physics at the college - has now spoken of his "shame" over the scandal.
He says, "I am shocked and saddened to see these revelations. And ashamed that it could have taken place in the university of my own training, in which I have had so much pride. I can only fully support the work of Buav... and I hope the result will be that this appalling cruelty will never be allowed to happen again.
"Research on animals is an outdated concept - unethical, and unsupportable now that it is known that it yields false results. There is now, in every case, a better alternative. Experimentation on animals must now come to an end, and I urge Imperial College to use this opportunity to put all cruelty in the past, by eliminating animal experimentation, and thereby set an example to the world."