Oscar nominated actor James Cromwell, is charged with a civil ordinance violation for allegedly disrupting a University of Wisconsin Board of Regents meeting in Madison on Feb. 7 while protesting animal testing, according to a Feb. 23 Associated Press report. The 73-year-old “L.A. Confidential” actor was charged together with 27-year-old Jeremy Beckham, a spokesman for the animal rights organization PETA.
Holding up a sign, which allegedly shows a cat in a UW-Madison laboratory with metal implanted in its head, Cromwell and Beckham stormed into the Regent’s meeting room screaming, “This is not science. This is torture. This is criminal.” According to the Daily Mail, Beckham then dropped to the fall forcing his body to go limp as he yelled his protests. The University’s Regents notified police authorities, who arrested Cromwell and Beckham.
PETA reportedly claims that 30 cats a year are starved, deafened and decapitated at the university, but UV-Madison denies the accusations. The director of the university’s Research Animal Resources Center issued a statement in response to PETA and the protests.
“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. Exhaustive independent investigation by the USDA, which regulates the use of animals in research, concluded that PETA's allegations are baseless.”
The Associated Press reports that the actor and Beckham are scheduled to appear in court on Mar. 25, and though Cromwell’s violations are not criminal charges, they carry fines of up to $1,000.
Cromwell was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1995 movie “Babe.”
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