Skip to Main Content

Update: James Cromwell Won’t Face Criminal Charges Over UW Protest

Written by Michelle Kretzer | March 25, 2013

Update: Good news! We love James Cromwell even more than we already did because of his willingness to face arrest to help bring attention to cruel brain experiments on cats at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and now we love that local prosecutors have declined to bring criminal disorderly conduct charges against him—as well as against the PETA staff member who was arrested with him—for pointing out that the experiments are unethical and must be stopped. The pair have instead been cited for noncriminal county ordinance violations—similar to a traffic ticket.

The USDA’s documentation confirms that pain was inflicted on cats—including Double Trouble—who suffered from chronic life-threatening infections after having holes drilled into their skulls and metal coils implanted in their eyes and being constantly starved to force them to obey commands. Please join James Cromwell today in urging the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to stop these cruel and deadly experiments.

The following was originally posted on February 7, 2013:

Members of the University of Wisconsin (UW) System Board of Regents sat stunned as actor James Cromwell entered their meeting to challenge them over experiments on cats. Likely the last thing the board expected today was to have an Academy Award nominee rush in, holding a grisly picture of a cat with a large metal post protruding from her head, and exclaim, “This is not science! This is torture! Shame on you!” But James, a longtime PETA supporter, felt that it was high time the board got personally called out for UW-Madison’s abuse of cats. Campus police arrested him and a PETA staff member but not before the board had to stare into the face of just one of the many cats who had been tormented and killed in UW-Madison’s disturbing brain and ear experiments.

The orange tabby cat whose image has become synonymous with the cruel cat laboratories is Double Trouble. Experimenters screwed a steel post to her skull so that they could immobilize her head and planted electrical devices deep inside her ears. They allowed her massive, bloody head wound to become severely infected, and they then starved her for days at a time so that she would cooperate with them in exchange for a morsel of food to eat. Finally, calling the experiment a failure, they killed and decapitated her.

PETA has repeatedly asked UW-Madison to end its abusive experiments on cats but has received no response. Please e-mail UW’s Board of Regents and urge the members to listen to James and the hundreds of thousands of other compassionate people who want the school to end these cruel cat laboratories and switch to modern, superior, non-animal research methods.

Commenting is closed.
  • Rita says:

    No creature deserves this torture. Every animal and human deserves a worthy life. Thanks James Cromwell for taking time out of your busy life to defend and care for the voiceless

  • No need to kill any animal for some silly experiments….What are the experiments for anyway? I fell so sad for all the animals that are tortured and killed because of that!

  • Juha says:

    How can anyone be so cruel!! :S You ####### monsters! There is NO such thing that justifies this kind of cruelty!! I hope that the authors of these tests are going to die a horrible way soon.. If god exist, please help these poor cats:(

  • Georgianna Ross says:

    Stop the heartless suffering

  • Cristina Cuesta says:

    Stop torturing cats.

  • Joanne says:

    The holocaust inflicted on all animals (including factory farming) must end. It all starts with education.

  • Maegan Toth says:

    everybody, wanting to know what else you can do to end this horror, join my cyber protest, where you will find lots of information such as petitions, contact info, photos, videos and articles. i want this to end byu the end of the year, hopefully sooner!!!! i wont rest until it is!!

  • m says:

    i’ts all good except no need for shaming people – shame is no good, it can contribute to violence in so many ways (check out books & lectures of James Gilligan) – educate creatively, but please don’t attack people who you want to convince – we are all in the same boat

  • Josh Davis says:

    P. Ibanez, As an Asian American, I find your comment linking Asians to animal cruelty to be extremely misguided and ignorant. I am an Asian American, and I am also a vegan. I find it deplorable that you should think in such a shallow and one dimensional way. Animal cruelty knows no borders and is rampant in all societies and among all races, and to try to coach the problem in such a simplisitic way does not help at all.

  • PlanetSedge says:

    OH! i am typing this madly blinking away the tears – about to bawl my eyes out – wanting to say, James Cromwell is my new (unlikely) hero… then i saw the photograph, like a stab through my heart making me cry out in horror and lament – as i too often have before – against the despicable cruelty of those i’m forced to see as my own race… NOOOOOOOOO! i cannot ever feel true happiness again, knowing such heartlessness exists…

  • LISA ANIMAL RIGHTS !!!!!! says:


  • Pamela Kaczynski says:

    First of all Bud, you should learn how to spell.PETA only HELPS animals.I agree with you Mandy. Thank God for animal lovers and protectors like James cromwell. The university of Wisconsin SHOULD be ashamed of themselves.How can people be so cruel to torture innocent animals.

  • hannah says:

    it is people like this who…try to keep world at peace y do the abuse these cats what r they accomplishing what happened to james and is there any updates

  • bud says:

    I applaud all those that do what they can to make the lives of animals better. But does anyone here relise that peta kills 85-95% of all ADOPTABLE animals it gets at its shelters. Plus its shelters don’t even meet their own criteria for an acceptable animal shelter. If you don’t belive me, go to Virginia’s Dept. of Agriculture website and look it up. For all their talk of animal rights they are being quite hypocritical. Would rather spend the donations they get for their media stunts instead of truly helping the animals they supposedly revere

  • Monica Thors says:

    This was a display of great courage and great leadership. I am making a donation , and Thank you to the people that had enough courage to step inot that board meeting. Monica Thors

  • Joe Spinelli says:

    I truly respect James for what he did. Coming from an actor it is very rare to see someone of his stature to do something like this and its very inspriring for me. These experiments need to stop, there is no need for them and no need for cats to be die because of this. It’s disgusting and something must be done.

  • Allen Smithee says:

    Let’s try this again. You can copy and paste this link into your browser:,27,47,4,52,64,10000,MS,20,16,6,13,10,49,53,86,OTHDH&fy=2013&state=WI&ic=&fm=&orgid=578503&distr=WI2&rfa=&view=data&pagenum=3&sortcol=pn&sortdir=asc#tab5 or if that does not take you to the actual page, type in Next, type in feline or canine in the text book search feature at the top of the page and hit “submit query” at the bottom of the page. According to their website, the NIH is experiencing some technical difficulties right now, but, for example, if you type in feline, on page three of the search results that come up toward the bottom of the page, you will the description of the Behavioral and Physiological Studies of Sound Localization at the U of Wisconsin at Madison, which I believe involves Double Trouble and other cats subjected to unspeakable cruelty in the laboratory. Of course, the description of this study on the NIH website provides no details of what is really going on and for how long this study has been going on, reportedly for decades. The project # is 5R01DC007177-09 and the amount of the award by the NIH is $272.045.00, a mere fraction of the 31 million dollars (according to the NIH’s website) the U of W at Madison received this year from the NIH. We must demand more accountability and disclosure from the NIH about this outrageous waste of our taxpayer dollars.

  • diana londoño says:


  • cunningrand says:

    Ah, come on Carol. Why not make full disclosure…like: “As a psychiatrist, scientist (who hasn’t published any papers related to biology), and spokesperson for the animal rights group PCRM…”

  • Mandy says:

    I think about this every day and every day I come on the Peta website to see if there have been any updates. I email the school weekly about this but still no changes. I am so thankful for James and people like him. I hope the abuse stops soon and that the poor souls in the school now being tortured find peace. Bless all the innocent kitties

  • Allen Smithee says:

    If you copy and paste the following web address into your browser:,27,47,4,52,64,10000,MS,20,16,6,13,10,49,53,86,OTHDH&fy=2013&state=WI&ic=&fm=&orgid=578503&distr=WI2&rfa=&view=data&pagenum=3&sortcol=pn&sortdir=asc#tab5 scroll down the page and click on the project: 5R01DC007177-09 and you will see a description of the Behavioral and Physiological Studies of Sound Localization at the U of Wisconsin at Madison, which does not even mention the use of cats, let alone what they do to them. We must demand more of the NIH in terms of information provided to the public regarding the horrific practices these unfortunate cats are being subjected to at the U of Wisconsin at Madison. Incredibly, this cruelty to animals and waste of taxpayer money has been going at the U of Wisconsin at Madison for decades!?!

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you James, God bless you for having had the courage to put to the world’s attention this shame. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

  • Joanne says:

    I was speechless, stunned and then angry having seen this on JVM. I cannot believe animal cruelty such as this is happening here in the USA. I must be so blind. This needs to end!

  • Holly L Griffin says:

    Hi Miss peta,I have been trying to become a vegetarial and after that picture of that pretty kittie I find it disturbing and scary what was the poor thinking what did I do. I am horrified I am going to kiss ass and do what I want to do and become and upstanding vegetarian. If I could cry I would not stop furry friends are the best friens ever.Thanks Holly

  • SADGIRL1974 says:

    There are no regulations that govern the conduct of an experiment, limits what animals are forced to endure, or prevents the duplication of painful experiments. Animals are routinely infected with diseases they would never normally contract, cut open, burned, starved, driven insane, poisoned, and killed—and it’s all legal. Help us put a STOP to this here:

  • P Jones says:

    Shame, shame, to commit this kind of horror to justify receiving federal funds. What is wrong with a Board of Regents to go along with such barbaric actions? You should all be replaced. Yay, James Cromwell!

  • Dinorah Rosol says:

    Great action!!! Exactly shame on the University of Wisconsin HOW HORRIBLE!!! HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF WE TOOK THOSE SCIENTISTS¨ AND DID THE SAME TO THEM??? STOP THE ANIMAL ABUSE!!! STOP IT NOW!!!!!!!

  • Dulce Monteiro says:

    Thank you James! Thank you for stand up against these brutalities! You are an example for everyone!

  • Janiso says:

    Thank God for people like James Cromwell. You are our voice,they don’t often listen to us, the public, we are dismissed.But you, and people like you involved in Film, Media – all forms,our Politicians, where are their voices joining with you to stop this barbarity.