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Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Babe actor arrested after protest
Babe
Babe: A film about a pig raised by sheepdogs
James Cromwell, the actor best known for his role as Farmer Hoggett in Babe, has been arrested after an animal rights protest.

The character actor was one of five protesters arrested after entering a Wendy's fast food restaurant in Vienna, Virginia, and urging the patrons of the restaurant to eat elsewhere.

They told restaurant patrons about the Wendy's chain's alleged cruelty to animals.


It's high time that big corporations like Wendy's stopped treating these wonderful animals like meat machines.

James Cromwell
Cromwell, 51, and three officials of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a well-known animal rights activist group based in Virginia, were asked by police to leave the restaurant.

They refused to do so and were taken into custody.

'Animal cruelty'

There were also some 350 demonstrators outside the Wendy's restaurant, but the crowd was safely dispersed within an hour, local police said.

Cromwell was released after about five hours, according to a PETA spokesman.

As well as the four protesters arrested for entering the restaurant, a fifth was arrested after allegedly placing a banner on the roof of the restaurant which said: "Wendy's. Closed for animal cruelty."

"After Babe, people recognized that pigs and other animals abused on factory farms are sensitive, gentle animals," said Cromwell in a PETA press statement.

"It is high time that big corporations like Wendy's stopped treating these wonderful animals like meat machines," Cromwell added.

Commitment

Denny Lynch, a spokesman for Wendy's International Inc., defended the practices of his employers.

"Our animal welfare guidelines equal or exceed those of McDonald's or Burger King," Lynch said, insisting that fast food chains have a greater commitment to good treatment of animals than most other restaurants.

Paul and Linda McCartney
Paul and Linda McCartney were high profile members of PETA
Lynch said that Wendy's regularly checks the animal welfare practices of its suppliers, exceeding government standards as well as industry standards.

Wendy's has some 5,800 restaurants worldwide, and is the third largest burger chain in the United states.

Other famous PETA campaigns include the one waged against the Indian leather industry, with the support of Pamela Anderson, Chrissie Hynde and Sir Paul McCartney, who made a personal plea to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpaygee.

McCartney, a committed vegetarian, has been a member of PETA for more than 10 years. His first interview after the death of his wife Linda, he vowed to continue his animal rights work.

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