Actor James Cromwell, PETA official arrested at University of Wisconsin System Regents meeting

Madison – James Cromwell, the Oscar-nominated actor who starred in “L.A. Confidential” and “Babe,” was arrested Thursday morning with protester Jeremy Beckham of PETA for shouting during a University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meeting, calling campus research on cats torture, not science.

The two burst into the meeting room as a UW System official was beginning a report to the regents about student success predictors of whether the system is on target to reach its goal of producing 80,000 more degree holders by 2025.

Regents appeared taken aback, but no one responded to Cromwell and Beckham. They held two large signs showing a cat named Double Trouble with metal implanted in its head at a UW-Madison lab, while shouting about the treatment of cats.

“This is not science, this is cruel,” Cromwell said.

“This is the reality of what happens to cats in labs,” Beckham said. “Take a look at the photograph. This is the pride of the university here.”

Beckham, a PETA spokesman who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, went limp and dropped to the floor in front of the regents.

Two campus police campus officers dragged him from the room, and the meeting resumed. They were taken to the Dane County Jail and will be charged with disorderly conduct, according to UW spokesman David Giroux. Cromwell, 73, said that police were very courteous, and that he was led out in handcuffs, “which is always fun.”

Cromwell said in a telephone interview the meeting was being streamed, a plus he and Beckham hadn’t known about.

“People saw us and heard us, and if we’d known, we would’ve gone up to the cameras, but I think a lot of people got out their phones and took photographs,” he said. “I’m sure it’ll go viral, and that’s why I’m here.”

Beckham said the two have a date to appear in court next Thursday.

PETA said in a release that 30 cats a year at UW-Madison are starved, deafened and decapitated for brain research that hasn’t done accomplished its goals of improving human hearing.

Eric Sandgren, director of the Research Animal Resources Center on campus, said in an email that PETA’s claims are false, and that the USDA has conducted independent examinations that came to the same conclusions.

“Today’s events are just another attempt by these outside activists to get attention,” Sandgren said. “They have attacked and distorted this line of research, which has very real benefits for people who are deaf, from every angle, and they are getting no traction with the public.”

Cromwell said in a telephone interview that he was shooting a television series in Philadelphia a few weeks ago when PETA asked him to do the protest. He has been working with PETA ever since he made the movie Babe, and PETA contacted him about helping to save 4H pigs from slaughter.

“These photographs were very powerful,” Cromwell said. “It is something that can be seen that does affect people outside the scientific community and raise their ire, as it should.”

Actor James Cromwell, PETA official arrested at University of Wisconsin System Regents meeting.

James Cromwell arrested for cat abuse protest | Hollywood.com

pic_cromwell_arrestedCampus police led the Oscar nominee away from the University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison during a protest staged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) activists on Thursday morning (07Feb13).

Reports suggest Cromwell held up graphic photos depicting the scientific decapitation of a cat named Double Trouble and yelled, “Shame on UW for mutilating and killing cats!”

Prior to his arrest, the actor said, “The University of Wisconsin may think that grant money matters more than animals’ suffering, but the public who unwittingly funds this cruelty demands an end to these hideous experiments.

“My friends at PETA and I will continue to call on UW-Madison to stop cutting into and killing cats in this useless experiment.”

Thursday’s protest comes two weeks after PETA officials sent a letter to the UW Board of Regents describing the abuse of nine other cats in the same laboratory where Double Trouble was killed.

The protesters asked the regents for an immediate end to the cruel experiments but received no response.

James Cromwell arrested for cat abuse protest | Hollywood.com.