Johns Hopkins, one of the world's leading research universities, has apparently been skinning rat penises, pissing off PETA and Ron Jeremy, who has been citing his own penis in an effort to shut the experiments down.

Apparently the $2.8 million phallo-dermo-dealio is that the researchers are trying to find ways to end erectile disfunction, according to their study grant proposals. The experiments require researchers to anesthetize the rats, skin their penises and freeze the tissue, and then electrically stimulate what's left.

The university's PR head stressed that researchers also hope to improve outcomes from prostate cancer surgery.

PETA and Ron Jeremy (because why not?) are currently campaigning against the university. Jeremy called the experiments "twisted," citing his porn-filled past as his scientific basis.

"I consider myself to be a bit of an expert on sex—I've got more than 1,700 movies to prove it—and I know how important it is to have and enjoy it. But I don't know a single person who's OK with cutting up live animals' genitals for any reason," Jeremy mentioned in an open letter to the National Institutes of Health, which funded the Hopkins experiment.

He helpfully adds, "I once had a rat named Fetus, whom I adopted from the comedian Howie Mandel, and I know firsthand what great personalities and high intelligence these animals have. They absolutely don't deserve this fate."

[image via Shutterstock]