STILLWATER — Animals will no longer be euthanized in teaching labs at Oklahoma State University’s veterinary school, officials said Monday.
Controversy about the veterinary school euthanizing animals after students performed surgeries on them arose after the wife of billionaire benefactor and OSU alumnus T. Boone Pickens redirected a $5 million donation from the vet school because she did not agree with such practices. Madeleine Pickens said Monday that because of the change, she feels comfortable sending her money to the school. "It is probably a good time to start dialogue now,” Pickens said. "Rest assured, the money never left OSU. It’s still there.” Previously, the school obtained animals from private dealers. Dogs used in the lab were euthanized after a second surgery was performed on them. A total of 76 dogs were euthanized last year at the veterinary school. Oklahoma animal shelters will provide the animals beginning in the fall semester, said Michael Lorenz, OSU’s dean of veterinary medicine. Students will perform spays and neuters on the animals, which will then be returned to shelters to be adopted, "This is a win-win situation that continues to provide our students the training they need, addresses animal welfare issues, and offers a beneficial service to the community,” OSU President Burns Hargis said in a statement. Lorenz said Hargis provided $300,000 from the university budget to finance the new program.