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Tulsa: OSU vet students defend program, call Pickens' claims inaccurate

By JACLYN COSGROVE - Correspondent - Tulsa World Modified: February 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm •  Published: February 24, 2009
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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.