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Capitol reaction: Three lawmakers add support to vet program

Oklahoman Modified: February 25, 2009 at 6:01 am •  Published: February 25, 2009
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Three state legislators who graduated from Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine defended the program Tuesday.

State Reps. Brian Renegar, Lee Denney and Phil Richardson — each with a doctor of veterinary medicine degree — said reports of "barbaric” practices occurring at the school are inaccurate and misleading. They issued statements saying the program is nationally recognized as one of the best in the country.

They were responding to news that Madeleine Pickens did not want her $5 million donation to the university going to the veterinary school.

Renegar, D-McAlester, said, "I can say the recent claims about the school’s teaching methods are unfounded and colored by the perceptions of individuals promoting a radical animal-rights agenda instead of sound teaching methods for veterinarian training.”

Denney, R-Cushing, who has authored legislation the past two years to outlaw puppy mills, said the training she received at OSU was designed to prevent animal suffering, not cause it.

"No one can spend years training to become a veterinarian without caring about animals,” she said.

Richardson, R-Minco, said Pickens’ view of the college is inaccurate.

"As a result, the picture she paints of the College of Veterinary Medicine is grossly distorted and misleading,” he said.

The three lawmakers said live animal surgery is a necessary component of the learning process for veterinarians and is comparable to the training of medical doctors.

MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU