The star of a film about a lovable pig was behind bars after he burst in to a university board meeting and accused members of being responsible for torturing cats.

Former Oscar nominee James Cromwell, who starred in Babe, was captured on video marching in to the meeting at the University of Wisconsin with Peta activist Jeremy Beckham.

Cromwell, who played a pig farmer in the popular family films, brandished an image of a cat with a metal implant screwed to its head.

The 73-year-old LA Confidential actor shouted: "This is not science. This is torture. This is criminal."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals member Cromwell took action after the pressure group claimed that the university starved or decapitated more than more 30 cats every year.

Cromwell, whose film credits also include playing Prince Philip opposite Helen Mirren in the The Queen, was clapped in handcuffs and dragged out of the building. The university denied his allegations.

A spokesman said: "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."

Cromwell may be charged with disorderly conduct.