Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell was arrested earlier this morning (Feb. 7) after bursting into a board meeting at the University of Wisconsin and decrying the institution's deadly experiments on cats.
The 73-year-old "American Horror Story" star was led away by campus police along with PETA member Jeremy Beckham and later charged with disorderly conduct. According to reports, Cromwell and Beckham held up signs depicting the scientific decapitation of a cat named Double Trouble.
"This is not science, this is cruel," Cromwell said. "Shame on UW for mutilating and killing cats!"
"This is the reality of what happens to cats in labs," Beckham added. "Take a look at the photograph. This is the pride of the university here."
Cromwell and Beckham's protest comes less than two weeks after PETA sent a letter to the UW board urging an end to animal experiments on campus. The group made claims that UW-Madison harmed cats in research to improve cochlear implants. Besides Double Trouble, an additional nine other cats suffered “cruel and wasteful treatment,” which included having metal posts drilled into their skulls.
"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," Cromwell said prior to his arrest. "My friends at PETA and I will continue to call on UW-Madison to stop cutting into and killing cats in this useless experiment."
After PETA's initial accusations, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents opened an investigation but found the claims to be unsubstantiated.
"Today's events are just another attempt by these outside activists to get attention," Eric Sandgren, director of the Research Animal Resources Center on campus, told JSOnline.com. "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 and Beckham have a date to appear in court next Thursday. You can view video of their protest via the PETA website here.