The fate of hundreds of baboons at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center research facility in El Reno remains uncertain after the school announced plans to wind down the program that used the animals.
In September, OU president David Boren said the program would come to an end in three to four years.
The announcement came after animal rights groups raised concerns about findings of non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act by USDA veterinarian medical officers inspecting the facility.
The Norman Transcript reports it’s likely the animals will continue to be sold for research for now.
The university says it is working with the National Institutes of Health to develop a plan for placement of the baboons, including the possibility of putting some of the animals in sanctuaries.
The president of the University of Oklahoma severed the school’s ties with a national fraternity and ordered that its on-campus house be shuttered after several members took part in a racist chant caught on video.
President David Boren said he was sickened and couldn’t eat or sleep after learning about the video. Posted online, the video shows several people on a bus participating in a chant that included a racial slur, referenced lynching and indicated black students would never be admitted to OU’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
The Oklahoma football team decided to protest rather than practice following the video posting. At the team’s indoor practice facility, coach Bob Stoops led the way as players, joined by athletic director Joe Castiglione, walked arm-in-arm, wearing black. Meanwhile, a top high school recruit withdrew his commitment to the university after seeing the video.
Boren attended a pre-dawn rally organized by students and lambasted the fraternity members as “disgraceful” and called their behavior “reprehensible.” He said the university was looking into a range of punishment. Two students seen in the video have been expelled.
“This is not who we are,” Boren said at a midday news conference. “I’d be glad if they left. I might even pay the bus fare for them.”
National leaders of Sigma Alpha Epsilon said that its investigation confirmed members took part in the chant and announced it would close the local chapter. The national group said it was “embarrassed” by the “unacceptable and racist” behavior.
Other investigations of SAE chapters are ongoing in Illinois and Texas.