08/03/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

U Of Wisconsin Faces Animal Cruelty Charges In Sheep Deaths

MADISON -- A judge appointed a special prosecutor Wednesday to weigh animal cruelty charges against nine University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and officials responsible for experiments that killed sheep.

The experiments at the university's Diving Physiology laboratory concerned an illness known as decompression sickness, or "the bends." During the studies, sheep are exposed to compressed air in a high-pressure chamber to simulate what happens during deep-sea diving. The Navy and others are interested in treating the sickness.