In 2004 Columbia University paid the US Department of Agriculture a fine for violations of the Animal Welfare Act during Dr. Oz’s scientific experimentation on animals. The University did not deny the allegations.
Oz, the New Jersey resident who’s currently running for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, was a “principal investigator” at the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine labs for years and assumed “full scientific, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of his studies. Over the course of 75 studies published in academic journals reviewed by Jezebel, Oz’s team conducted experiments on at least 1,027 live animal subjects that included dogs, pigs, calves, rabbits, and small rodents. Thirty-four of these experiments resulted in the deaths of at least 329 dogs, while two of his experiments killed 31 pigs, and 38 experiments killed 661 rabbits and rodents.
In the early 2000s, testimony from a whistleblower and veterinarian named Catherine Dell’Orto about Oz’s research detailed extensive suffering inflicted on his team’s canine test subjects, including multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which sets minimum standards of care for dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other animals in the possession of animal dealers and laboratories. The law specifically requires researchers and breeders to use pain-relieving drugs or euthanasia on the animals, and not use paralytics without anesthesia, or experiment multiple times on the same animal.
Months after paying the $2,000 fine, in December 2004, Columbia defended Oz amid the animal abuse allegations, calling him “a highly respected researcher and clinician” who adhered “to the highest standards of animal care,” but neglected to deny any of the specific allegations Dell’Orto had made against Oz. On Monday, Jezebel reached out to Columbia’s office of communications and public affairs as well as Oz’s Senate campaign. Columbia declined to comment, and Oz’s campaign has yet to respond. Notably, in April this year, the Daily Beast reported that the university had seemingly cut all ties with Oz, stripping his personal pages from the medical center’s website. Oz formerly held senior positions including vice chair of surgery and director of integrated medicine at the medical center.