OSU veterinary students defended treatment of animals in their care, following criticism of the school’s practices by the wife of oilman T. Boone Pickens. The OSU veterinary school dean held a meeting Monday to discuss claims that Madeleine Pickens made in a story that ran the same day in The Daily O’Collegian, OSU’s student newspaper. Pickens, wife of OSU alumnus and billionaire benefactor T. Boone Pickens, also told the Tulsa World Monday she planned to move her $5 million donation from the veterinary school after she learned of multiple practices with which she did not agree. Michael Lorenz, OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences dean, addressed about 100 veterinary students and faculty Monday about the article. In an e-mail sent to veterinary students, Lorenz said: “Rest assured that Mrs. Pickens has never made a gift or donation to the veterinary college. She did make an undesignated gift to the university.” No one outside the school was allowed to come to the meeting. Gary Shutt, OSU’s director of communications, said colleges are allowed to hold private meetings with their students. The purpose of the meeting was to address students’ concerns about what was said in the article, he said. “They were concerned because they felt like the article damaged the reputation of the school,” Shutt said. Kyle German, a third-year veterinary student, said most of the veterinary school, including faculty, attended the meeting. German said Lorenz, instructors and people from the veterinary clinic spoke at the meeting. Lorenz also responded to the claims in a written statement. “We understand and respect Madeleine Pickens’ concerns regarding surgical training and research practices at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, which are utilized at most veterinary colleges in the country,” Lorenz said. “Apparently, Mrs. Pickens was provided information which unfortunately, in many respects, is not factually accurate.” German was one of the students who attended the meeting who also felt that the article was not accurate. “It makes us [veterinary students] angry,” he said. “That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to help these animals, not hurt them.” Brandy Kastl, a third-year veterinary student who attended the meeting, said nowhere in her syllabus does it mention “removing organs or breaking bones.” Madeleine Pickens cited claims by an anonymous veterinary student that animals were subject to such practices at the school. “We’re responsible for pain management for these animals,” Kastl said. “We treat them very humanely. She said students who do not want to operate on live animals are given the choice to operate on cadavers. Alicia Davis, a second-year veterinary student, said she felt like using live animals to learn surgical procedure is an integral part of the education at the school. “When we come out of vet school, we’re expected to be doctors,” she said. “OSU is doing its best to provide a quality education to veterinary students so they can better care for animals when they graduate.” Brad Youngblood, a third-year veterinary student, said students start performing surgeries in their third year at the veterinary school. “You apply the knowledge you’ve learned,” he said. “It’s laid out well in advance.” Youngblood said were the veterinary school not to use the animals for surgical procedures, they would be euthanized. “These are animals on death row,” he said. Youngblood said the first procedure a veterinary student performs on a live animal is a skin incision to learn how the animal’s skin regenerates and heals. The second surgery is an abdominal exploratory where every organ in the abdomen is inspected for anything abnormal. After this surgery, the animal is then euthanized.