Bill Exempts Researchers on Animal Cruelty Charges But Wisconsin scientists must show work is legit By Tim Karan, Newser Staff Posted Jun 22, 2011 4:20 PM CDT 19 comments Comments Researchers in Wisconsin are exempt from state animal cruelty charges thanks to a new provision. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Rats in Wisconsin might sleep a little less easy tonight. A provision in the state budget gives researchers who test on animals exemption from state animal cruelty charges as long as their work is "bona fide," reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Researchers could still face federal prosecution if they violate their institution's protocol. To be protected from liability, university researchers must prove to an oversight committee that their research asks an important societal question; they must use animals to answer that question; and if procedures cause pain, they will make every effort to minimize it. While some researchers say they already had to make the same case in order to receive funding, a representative for PETA says, "A PhD shouldn't be a get-out-of-jail-free card."