Actor arrested at Texas A&M Board of Regents meeting

Published: Oct. 31, 2019 at 2:51 PM CDT
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Actor James Cromwell was arrested Thursday on the Texas A&M campus. Cromwell was participating in a PETA protest at the Board of Regents meeting.

Cromwell joined other activists at the school's Memorial Student Center for what has become a routine move orchestrated by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals at Texas A&M events and meetings.

A spokesman for the Texas A&M Police Department confirms Cromwell and another man were arrested and will be charged with Hindering Proceedings by Disorderly Conduct, a Class A misdemeanor.

Both men were taken to the Brazos County Detention Center, confirmed Lt. Bobby Richardson. Cromwell's bond was set at $5,000. He was released Monday afternoon.

"Caging and hurting golden retrievers is unethical and bad science, and it needs to end now," said Cromwell in a statement released prior to the disruption. "I join PETA in asking that these dogs be released for adoption immediately and spared further misery."

Texas A&M released a statement after the arrest saying: "It’s a shame that misinformation continues to be spread about this important research being done on behalf of humans and animals. We believe the public is smart enough to see through publicity stunts."

Following years of protests, pressure, and lawsuits by animal rights advocates, Texas A&M announced last month it is scaling back its practice of breeding sick dogs for medical research, but its efforts to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy will continue.

Texas A&M says the decision to stop onsite breeding of canines has nothing to do with outside pressure by PETA or anyone else. Instead, they say it's a combination of the lead researcher's retirement and the expiration of grants tied to the work.

The research has been widely criticized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who applauded the news, but made clear its work will not end until the entire lab is shut down.

Research advocates say the work done at Texas A&M has given families whose children have the disease renewed hope. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved the school's research for human clinical trials.

PETA launched an aggressive campaign against Texas A&M's research in 2016 after obtaining hidden camera video taken inside A&M's research lab where the dogs are housed.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is caused by a genetic disorder characterized by muscle degeneration and weakness. In humans, the disease primarily affects boys ages 4 to 17. To date, there has been no cure for the disease which usually claims the lives of those affected by their early 20s.