Everyone at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) got a surprise phone call today from Real Time host Bill Maher on behalf of PETA: a voice message recorded by the comedian to stop the school’s cruel cat experiments.

Maher’s call to UW students and faculty, members of the Board of Regents, and all Madison residents living near the UW campus—more than 100,000 phone numbers in total—comes just days before his October 13 performance at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison.

“Many things in life are funny, but cruelty to animals isn’t one of them,” Maher says in the message. “I want to make sure that you know about the terrible things done to cats right here at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.” Maher goes on to explain that, as PETA exposed last year in graphic photographs from inside the school’s laboratory, UW experimenters screw steel posts into open wounds on cats’ heads and implant metal coils in the animals’ eyes in archaic brain experiments and the cats are starved for up to six days at a time to force their cooperation.

“It strikes me that it’s not the cats who need their heads examined, because being mean to animals isn’t just stupid—it’s wrong, especially when there are better options that are actually relevant to humans, as there are in this case,” he says.

Maher isn’t the only celebrity to join PETA’s campaign against cruelty to cats at UW. In February, actor James Cromwell, who recently won an Emmy for his role in American Horror Story, was arrested after interrupting a Board of Regents meeting to protest the same experiments.

A federal report released last week revealed that the National Institutes of Health suspended this cruel project for six months this year in response to complaints filed by PETA about cats’ infected open head wounds and other animal welfare problems. The government also required substantial improvements in the laboratory and experimental protocol.

For more information, please visit PETA.org/UWCats.

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