Oklahoma Representative reacts to cancellation of anthrax study

Phil Richardson, an Oklahoma State Representative, veterinarian and farmer, has taken aim at Oklahoma State University for its recent cancellation of an anthrax study that would have required testing and euthanasia on primates.

"I bleed Orange as much as anyone, but I am deeply concerned by the actions of Oklahoma State University officials, which appear designed to cater to animal-rights fanatics instead of providing sound education in agricultural sciences," Richardson said in a statement on his website.

Richardson is a 1967 graduate from Oklahoma State as well as a member of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, the Oklahoma Pork Council, the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association and the Oklahoma State Alumni Board.

In his statement, Richardson says that OSU's plan to establish itself as a leader in infectious disease research is undermine by the cancellation of the anthrax study.

"The decision is consistent with several made in the past year to curry favor with the Humane Society of the United States and the wife of the university's major donor, an avowed animal-rights activist," Richardson says. "The HSUS spends millions of dollars on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers, eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research and eliminate hunting. It is impossible to follow all the tentacles of the organization, but its underlying goal is to destroy animal agriculture."

The federally funded study, which would have studied the effects on anthrax on live baboons at OSU's Center for Verterinary Health Sciences, was cancelled by Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis. Hargis called the testing of lethal pathogens on primates controversial, noting it would fall outside of the current research programs of the school.

"If you are involved in agriculture, believe it's okay to hunt animals, agree that animal research has advanced man's medical knowledge and treatment of disease through the use of vaccines, or if you simply appreciate the fact that you live in a country that provides the most low-cost, abundant food supply in the world, then you should be concerned that OSU's current administration appears to be more attuned to appeasing its donor base than fulfilling its mission to the citizens of this state," Richardson said.