James Cromwell Arrested Protesting Cat 'Torture' (Video)

James Cromwell AFI Fest - P 2012
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for AFI

James Cromwell AFI Fest - P 2012

UPDATED: The actor has released a statement concerning his involvement: "I knew I had to join PETA’s campaign to end this abuse."

Oscar nominee James Cromwell was arrested Thursday while protesting experimentation on cats at the University of Wisconsin.

Cromwell, who played the loveable farmer Hoggett in Babe, burst into a University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meeting holding up large poster of a cat, which appeared to have a metal clamp implanted in its head, and shouting.

PETA uploaded video of the incident to YouTube and claims the university's experiments on cats aimed at helping the deaf are cruel and have not been successful.

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“As many as 30 cats a year at UW have had holes drilled in their skulls" Cromwell says in the video. “They are deafened, starved for days at a time and then decapitated. This is not science. This is torture. And it is criminal.”

The video shows Cromwell being subdued soon after. 

A rep for the actor confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter he was taken into custody by police and has since been released. Cromwell was joined in the protest by PETA spokesman Jeremy Beckham, according to TMZ, which reports that Cromwell was escorted out of the room in handcuffs.

Following the protest, the director of the UW–Madison Research Animal Resources Center, released the following statement:

"Today's events are just another attempt by outside activists to draw attention to a cause. They have attacked and distorted this research -- which has very real benefits for people who are deaf -- from every angle imaginable."

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He added that "exhaustive independent investigation by the USDA, which regulates the use of animals in research, concluded that PETA's allegations are baseless."

Cromwell earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for Babe and recently played Dr. Arthur Arden in FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum.

On Friday, Cromwell released a statement, which can be read in full below.

After my friends at PETA showed me the horrifying photographs of a gentle cat named Double Trouble, one of dozens of cats who was cut into, deafened, killed, and decapitated by the University of Wisconsin Madison in a cruel taxpayer funded experiment that’s still going on, I knew I had to join PETA’s campaign to end this abuse.

Cats at UW have holes drilled into their skulls, metal coils implanted into their eyes, are deafened with toxic chemicals and starved to force them to cooperate in experiments that are obviously cruel and aren’t contributing anything to human health. I am not at all moved by the fact that the federal government considers this hideous experiment legal. That only indicates that our federal animal welfare laws are grossly inadequate, not that this cruelty is morally acceptable.

I am outraged that the University of Wisconsin has repeatedly lied about this experiment, concealed what happens inside its laboratories, and ignored pleas for compassion from hundreds of thousands of concerned people. This cruel experiment is funded with the public’s money and occurs at a public institution. UW-Madison should be accountable to the public.

What happens to cats at the school would be criminal outside of a laboratory. It shouldn’t be allowed to continue simply because some backward faculty member calls it “science.” This is not science. It is torture, and I believe it is criminal.