Thursday, December 10, 2009

OSU Bows To Activist Threat

Animal rights vs. research: OSU halts anthrax study
By Sharon Schmickle Published Wed, Dec 9 2009 9:49 am

Worried about stepped up activity by militant animal-rights groups, administrators at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater abruptly cancelled an anthrax vaccine study that would have killed dozens of baboons.

"There are regrettably some violent acts committed by animal-rights groups, and the president felt we should take our breath here and not do this project just yet," OSU vice-president of research, Stephen McKeever, told the journal Nature.

In Oklahoma, the project, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and led by Shinichiro Kurosawa of Boston University School of Medicine, had been approved by the OSU animal-care committee in September and was awaiting review by the biosafety committee when OSU President Burns Hargis vetoed it, calling the study "controversial," Nature reported.

Kurosawa had hoped to use the OSU animal facility because it has the required level of biosafety containment for anthrax. Along with collaborators, he had planned to investigate the biochemical pathways that lead to death following anthrax infection, and to test an anthrax vaccine.

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The real controversy here is the fact that the OSU President felt that a potential vaccine for anthrax that could save untold millions of lives wasn’t worth it. The lives of the baboons and the threats from animal rights activists won out over the greater good. The threat of an anthrax attack is very real in today’s world. It’s unfortunate that this decision will perpetuate that threat rather than end it.


Matt DiLeo said...

The only reason they were going to do these experiments in OK in the first place is b/c paranoid anti-vaccine, anti-gmo extremists who live in Cambridge passed so many anti-science ordinances that no professors at Harvard or MIT are able to actually run these types of experiments on their OWN campuses.

DLD said...

The rest of the story may be that the T. Boone Pickens family, which has given over $450 million to OSU objected to the research. I have some of the details on that on my blog.

Sad that an agricultural university would cave to these demands. What's next a HSUS sponsored chair or classroom?