Research at Columbia University which featured Mehmet Oz among its leaders involved the deaths, sometimes after startlingly cruel treatment, of hundreds of dogs and other animals, per newly surfaced information.
In connection to revelations in the early 2000s of the abuse suffered by animals used in the dozens of experiments, the university paid a very small fine of $2,000 on the orders of the U.S. Department of Agriculture over determined violations of a piece of federal law known as the Animal Welfare Act. At issue are 75 studies published with Oz’s name attached from 1989 to 2010, Jezebel explains. “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,” as the publication further summarizes. Catherine Dell’Orto, a veterinarian, exposed some of what happened in the studies surrounding these deaths, and she also spoke with Jezebel.
Among other examples, she referenced one dog for whom euthanasia was delayed for a month as experimentation continued, although data garnered by researchers wasn’t necessarily usable. In terms of specific symptoms animals suffered, another dog sustained lethargy, vomiting, paralysis, and kidney failure — and euthanasia was delayed for two full days, leaving the animal suffering. Details originally revealed by Dell’Orto about the university studies with Oz onboard were outlined in letters from PETA, the animal welfare organization, to the school and Department of Agriculture from the early 2000s. “When your name is on the experiment, and the way the experiment is designed inflicts such cruelty to these animals, by design, there’s a problem,” Dell’Orto more recently observed.
In polls of the Pennsylvania Senate race in which Oz is running against the state’s Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the Trump-endorsed and multiple mansion-owning Republican contender, who lived for decades in New Jersey before comparatively recently making a semi-move to Pennsylvania, is behind. Oz actually hasn’t led in a single major poll released publicly since the general election season began in Pennsylvania, per data cataloged by FiveThirtyEight. Gisele Barreto Fetterman, who is the Democratic Senate candidate’s wife, spoke about the accusations of animal abuse in a Jezebel interview. “I think if you look at a profile of someone who makes misogynistic comments, who abuses animals, who does all these things, you’re getting a picture of someone who’s a pretty dangerous person,” she remarked.
One of the early 2000s letters from PETA pushes for the suspension of any usage of animals by Oz. It also suggests his research work and team essentially got by without further scrutiny because of his public prominence. At the time, he was already making the rounds on television, where he would eventually spend many more years pushing unproven claims regarding various ailments, including some evidently well outside of his area of expertise. “When Dr. Dell’Orto complained to the head veterinarian, Sulli Popilskis, about the condition of one of these dogs and requested that the animal be euthanized, Popilskis replied, “You still don’t understand do you? It’s all political,”” as the letter said. “Dr. Dell’Orto understood this to mean that Oz could do whatever he wanted without being questioned because of his celebrity status.” The letter also claimed Oz personally performed an experiment resulting in one of the dogs dying after weeks of suffering. The animal in question was the subject of Dell’Orto’s previous comments leading to the claim that it’s just all “political.”