An unusual experiment went up to the International Space Station with the latest Space Shuttle flight. Monarch caterpillars were incubated on the Station, and the resulting butterflies observed as they tried to fly in weightless conditions. It seems they couldn't.
Here's Dr. Chip Taylor explaining the purpose of the experiment:
And here's the attempt of one butterfly to take wing in weightlessness:
I'm not sure whether this experiment could be classified as 'cruelty to butterflies'. After all, they had never flown in normal gravity, so they didn't know what they were missing: and I'm sure they didn't hurt themselves in the weightless environment by attempting to fly. Nevertheless, I like butterflies, so from a purely aesthetic perspective, I'd have liked them to have the chance to fly around as normal. Finally, I have to ask: was anything worthwhile or important learned from this experiment?