73-year-old Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell was arrested this morning at the University of Wisconsin -- after bursting into a board meeting ... claiming the school tortures cats in the name of science.
Cromwell was arrested with PETA spokesman Jeremy Beckham, who accompanied Cromwell on the protest ambush.
PETA posted video of the protest ... in which Cromwell and Beckham burst into a UW System Board of Regents meeting, shouting and holding signs showing a cat with metal implanted in its head at a UW-Madison lab.
PETA has claimed 30 cats a year at UW-Madison are starved, deafened, and decapitated for brain research that hasn't accomplished its goals of improving human hearing. The university denies the accusations.
During the protest, Cromwell shouted, "This is not science. This is cruel!" Beckham then went limp and dropped to the floor in front of the regents, holding the cat torture sign over his head.
The regents were obviously taken aback by the sudden distraction, but no one responded to Cromwell or Beckham.
A University spokesperson said police showed up shortly after and dragged Beckham out of the room. Cromwell was escorted out in handcuffs. The meeting immediately resumed.
The UW spokesperson said both men were taken to a nearby jail and are expected to be charged with disorderly conduct.
The director of the UW–Madison Research Animal Resources Center released a statement following the protest, saying, "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."
The director added, "Exhaustive independent investigation by the USDA, which regulates the use of animals in research, concluded that PETA's allegations are baseless."