Question: What is the connection between the movie “Babe” and experimental cats at the University of Wisconsin?
Answer: James Cromwell.
After Cromwell’s role as Farmer Hoggett in the childhood classic, “Babe,” we all thought he was a pig person. We were wrong.
Cromwell was arrested last Thursday after storming into a UW System meeting with photos of a lab research cat named Double Trouble and shouting about animal cruelty. One photo showed Double Trouble with steel rods implanted in its head, while the other displayed one of the many surgeries performed on the animal.
Cromwell disrupted the meeting in support of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ case accusing UW research labs of mutilating and killing cats in experiments, which, it claims, have resulted in little medical advancement.
I commend Cromwell’s attempt to draw attention to animal cruelty but I think PETA could have been a more powerful celebrity to concentrate the public’s interest on the mistreatment of these animals.
No offense to Cromwell, but considering that people are more familiar with your role as Farmer Hoggett in “Babe” than your actual name, I don’t think you are going to attract that much buzz. If I could devise the ideal protest to the wrongful experimentation done on cats, I would first contact Sarah McLachlan.
McLachlan is a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and was featured in a commercial in which her song “Angel” plays to a video of abused animals. This commercial is very effective – it often brings a single tear to each of my eyes. So I figure if McLachlan appeared in person, it would be even more emotional.
Armed with Sarah McLachlan and an interpretive dancer holding the horrific photos of Double Trouble, I would lead the three of us into the UW System meeting holding a boom box. I would put the boombox in the middle of the room and play the instrumental to “Angel.” Next, I would sit back and watch Sarah McLachlan sing her heart out, while the interpretive dancer would gracefully dance around the room to the rhythm of the song with the awful photos of a mutilated cat.
Hopefully, this would draw on the emotions of the participants in the meeting and cause them to cut funding or reconsider the legal guidelines for experiments run on animals.
I would do all of this for Double Trouble. I don’t even like cats, but they are living creatures and should be treated as such.
I am, however, a dog person. If dogs were involved in these experiments, I would pool more funds to get a performer like Beyoncé. I mean after a Super Bowl performance so good it caused a power outage, who could say no to her?
If the labs at UW do not stop these experiments for the sake of the cats involved, then they should end them for the well-being of the world. These research experiments set the stage for the making of a bad horror movie in which “cyborg cats” take over the world and impose their will on the human race. Kind of like a planet of the apes, but way less intimidating.
It will be interesting to see if Cromwell’s antics lead to future protests, and who knows – maybe he will even land a role as a biologist with a guilty conscience in a feature film based on the true story of Double Trouble, titled “Puss in Cochlear Implants.”
Hayes Cascia (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a sophomore with an undeclared major.