American actor James Cromwell is known for his long Hollywood career in films such as Babe and L.A. Confidential. He is also a well-known activist who practices veganism and supports the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Last Thursday, February 7, Cromwell and a fellow PETA supporter were arrested at the University of Wisconsin in Madison after they stormed into a Board of Regents meeting and denounced the use of domestic felines as test subjects for brain research.
According to a news release by PETA, Cromwell’s abrupt entry stunned the Regents, who never expected an Academy Award nominee to burst into the conference room armed with graphic pictures of cats decapitated or with metal protruding from their craniums. Cromwell chastised the Regents by claiming that each year 30 cats are starved and tortured during research into hearing impairment at University of Wisconsin research facilities.
Cromwell and a PETA associate were handcuffed and arrested by UW campus police. They were later taken to Dane County Jail and charged with disorderly conduct. PETA sometimes mobilizes their own counsel when they stage protests to expedite bail procedures, but local attorneys are often retained. If PETA were to protest at Vanderbilt, for example, a Springfield criminal defense lawyer could be retained in case their members engage in civil disobedience.
Alleged cruelty at UW Madison
PETA has complained that the brain and ear experiments conducted at UW are tantamount to animal cruelty. The graphic photo that Cromwell held up before the Regents showed an orange tabby cat immobilized by a large metal contraption drilled into her skull. PETA claims that the wound left by the protruding metal object became infected and that researchers conditioned the tabby cat to cooperate by means of starvation. UW officials denied the claims.