Wrath0fb0b writes "Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis has abruptly canceled an NIH-funded study on an anthrax vaccine in primates. (The primates would have to be euthanized afterward.) There is suspicion that the decision was meant to appease large donor Madeleine Pickens, the wife of noted huntsman T. Boone Pickens, who had previously pressured the school over animal-rights issues. Scientists counter that the study was approved by the NIH peer-review process, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and subject to the Federal Animal Welfare Act (by virtue of using NIH money) and that the decision by the President has short-circuited months of planning and deliberation on the matter. Hargis has denied being influenced by Pickens and cited 'confidential factors' that he couldn't discuss, telling the faculty council that 'to go through every lurid detail is simply not prudent.' A post on Pickens' blog, on the other hand, obliquely takes credit for the 'great decision,' noting a faculty member's hunch that the 'generous benefactor to OSU and her ties to the Humane Society of the United States may have played a role in the termination of the project.' Meanwhile, the NIH expressed displeasure at the decision, stating, 'NIH fully expects institutions to honor these assurances and commitment to complete NIH supported projects as requested, approved and funded.' Some OSU scientists speculated that the fiasco would make it harder for them to receive NIH funding in the future."
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