James Cromwell
by China DeSpain
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: DFree / Shutterstock.com

Starting the day in handcuffs is generally not considered ideal, but for Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell, it was a good way to spend the morning.

Cromwell, along with a PETA protestor named Jeremy Beckham, was arrested Thursday at the University of Wisconsin after interrupting a Board of Regents meeting.

The two protestors burst into the meeting to protest the university’s policy of using cats as lab animals. According to Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the pair held signs featuring a large photo of Double Trouble, a lab cat with metal implanted in her head.

“This is not science! This is cruel! Shame on you!” Cromwell admonished the board. Beckham echoed the sentiment, saying, “This is the reality of what happens to cats in labs. Take a look at the photograph. This is the pride of the university here.”

Cromwell and Beckham were unaware that the meeting was being streamed online, a fact that Cromwell considers a bonus, since it garnered more exposure for the protest. You can check out the video here.

“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.”

Both Cromwell and Beckham were arrested by university police and brought to the Dane County jail. They were charged with disorderly conduct and have a court date next week. Cromwell said that they were treated courteously, and that being cuffed is “always fun.”

According to a PETA release, “Thirty 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. (Warning: That link leads to graphic and heartbreaking images of lab cat Double Trouble.)

However, a spokesman for the school emailed the Journal Sentinel to say that PETA’s claims are false. “Today’s events are just another attempt by these outside activists to get attention,” he 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.”

The research may benefit humans, but if the images in the PETA link are any indication, these cats are not treated humanely, a sentiment that Cromwell agrees with. “These photographs were very powerful,” he said. “It is something that can be seen that does affect people outside the scientific community and raise their ire, as it should.”

According to PETA, after Double Trouble was no longer useful as a live test subject, she was euthanized and decapitated for brain study. PETA has set up a petition to help other cats like Double Trouble; head over to the site to take action.

Cromwell has been an animal rights activist since his work on the movie “Babe,” when PETA reached out to him to save pigs from slaughter.

About China DeSpain

China DeSpain is a San Antonio-based writer and blogger. She loves pop culture, animal rights, health and fitness, international travel, books and wigs. Follow China on Twitter: @ChinaDeSpain

View all posts by China DeSpain →
  • http://www.facebook.com/sgorchynski Stephanie Gorchynski

    SO much respect for him, for them both – so much gratitude, too. I’m so so proud of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/claudia.marrapodi.9 Claudia Marrapodi

    James Cromwell is a true hero – and Peta too! This courage is unique and for this James Cromwell shall remain inside my heart until I die! Stop this criminal horrific cat abuse and murder! By the way – James Cromwell is one of the great exceptions of men who – increasing in age look better and better! This veggie soul is gorgeous!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jackie.oszczudlak Jackie Oszczudlak

    someone should tell him to look up PETA’s euthenasia rate. he might want to try affiliating himself with a different group

  • http://twitter.com/VivaGardner Jeffrey Gardner

    Please allow my comment.

  • http://twitter.com/VivaGardner Jeffrey Gardner

    In the last 11 years, PETA has killed 29,426 companion animals. Apologists for PETA’s killing have argued that all of the animals they kill are “unadoptable.” But this claim is a lie for numerous reasons. It is a lie because rescue groups and individuals have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable and PETA insiders have admitted as much, one former intern reporting that he quit in disgust after witnessing perfectly healthy puppies and kittens in the kill room. It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making the determination as to whether or not an animal is “unadoptable.” It is a lie because according to a state inspector, the PETA facility where the animals are impounded was designed to house animals for no more than 24 hours. It is a lie because Newkirk herself admitted as much during a 2008 television interview: when asked whether or not PETA kills healthy animals, she responded, “Absolutely.” It is a lie because PETA staff have described the animals they have killed as “healthy,” “adoptable,” “adorable” and “perfect.” It is a lie because PETA itself admits it does not believe in “right to life for animals.” And it is a lie because when asked what sort of effort PETA routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care, PETA responded that it had “no comment.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/lovedelightstyle Barendsen Miriam

      Is this right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1135204691 Steve Spitler

    I can appreciate the reasons for what he did. There are better ways of going about it. And making yourself look like and idiot is the least of them.

  • http://twitter.com/TaMol Tamara Moliver

    Strong and powerful actions. much respect.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003915924421 Richard Leslie Whereat

    No. Those pictures are no inclination as to what’s real.
    You’re dealing with PETA here.