Sen. Steve Pierce (R-Prescott) stood up on the Senate floor last week and attempted to get $4.2 million for the University of Arizona to start a veterinary program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Shortly after he finished talking, the nay votes overwhelmed the yeas, and the amendment was voted down.
In his office, Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) who has his two University of Arizona diplomas hanging behind his desk, remains on a mission. Early in the week Orr, a former associate professor at the university, thought he could get the funding from the House, despite the lack of success of veterinary appropriations in the Senate. But later this week, the House only agreed to give the university $3.5 million for Cooperative Extension support. Without the support of the House and Senate, Orr will have to come up with some other way to squeeze the money he wants to create the University of Arizona's first veterinary school and surgical program - before the budget is finalized.
But the legislative appropriations game is only part of a bigger conversation surrounding the proposed veterinary program - one between two veterinarians, Dr. Shane Burgess, the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Dr. Wayne Anderson, of the Arrow Service Groups of Animal Hospitals, a co-op of veterinary hospitals in the Phoenix area.
Anderson says he has letters from over 30 private practices in the state, all of which state that they don't support a veterinary school program for the university. But if you talk to Burgess (or Orr, or any other supporter of the program) they'll tell you that the University of Arizona, as a land-grant university, has a responsibility to its citizens to create this program.
Read more from this March 28 Tucson Weekly story at the link below.More Information