OSU Vet School Alums Respond To Allegations

Wednesday, February 25th 2009, 10:17 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, The News on 6

TULSA, OK -- Local veterinarians are defending their alma mater after billionaire donor Madeleine Pickens called the practices of OSU's veterinarian school "barbaric."

Pickens says she plans to take a $5 million donation elsewhere because of the way the school is run.

Graduates of the school fear her statements could damage the its reputation.

"We're not doing bad things to animals," said Dr. D.C. Smith, a Tulsa veterinarian. "We're doing good things to help advance veterinary medicine."

Smith graduated from OSU's vet school in 1970. He's an active alumnus and vehemently defends the school's reputation, which he feels could be tarnished by recent statements.

"We are a little bit upset by this because we just know what a wonderful school it is," Smith said.

The statements were made to the school newspaper by Pickens, an animal advocate and wife of billionaire OSU donor T. Boone Pickens.

Pickens says she doesn't agree with the way the school buys dogs who later become surgical patients and are euthanized. She called the practices barbaric.

"There's other ways to teach students how to do surgery on animals," she said. "I'm not happy with the way, the philosophy behind the vet school."

But Smith says it's a standard part of training for all vet schools and their students across the country.

"I mean, do they want to be an anatomy teacher and work on cadavers?" he said. "Or do they want to be a surgeon and work on live animals?"

Michael Lorenz, the dean of OSU's vet school, is also defending the program.

In a statement he calls many of the allegations false and says "We assure you that we are conducting our teaching program with the most professional, ethical, compassionate and humane standards possible."

He did not mention any possible changes to the curriculum, which is what Pickens continues to request.

"I'm positive about the school, and I would hate to think that there wouldn't be any change," she said.

Pickens says she wants OSU to stop buying dogs from Class B dealers, people who collect dogs to sell to the school.

She also wants the school to consider using cadavers instead of live animals, and she would like to see students work on the public's sick animals to heal them instead of euthanizing them.