Did Doug Mastriano just take a legislative shot at Mehmet Oz over animal testing?

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Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for Senate, was criticized last month in television ads for scientific testing on animals that he supervised in a program at Columbia University.

Is the celebrity doctor now taking heat from his party’s nominee for governor, Doug Mastriano?

Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County, on Wednesday circulated a memo among his colleagues, looking for cosponsors for future legislation that “would prohibit scientific experiments on live domestic cats and dogs” in the state.

That came one day after the Washington Post reported Oz told a former medical colleague last month that Mastriano “won’t win” his race for governor.

And this all happens just days before Mastriano and Oz are due to stand together on a stage in Latrobe at a campaign rally with former President Donald Trump.

Mastriano’s campaign did not respond when asked if his memo was related to Oz or the comments reported by the Washington Post.

» READ MORE: Mehmet Oz is facing accusations of animal abuse tied to his medical research. Here’s what you need to know.

His memo says “our domestic friends, dogs and cats, are tortured in research” to test the safety of drugs, medical devices, pesticides, and other harmful substances.

“Many of these tests involve painful and deadly procedures that push the animals to unimaginable never-ending pain that even a human cannot endure,” Mastriano wrote.

The Senate Majority PAC in October started airing ads about scientific tests at the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine labs when Oz was the “principal investigator” for the program. Columbia paid a $2,000 penalty for violations of the Animal Welfare Act as part of a settlement after as USDA investigation.

When asked about the animal abuse allegations at a campaign stop in York in late October, Oz acknowledged he was head of the heart institute at the time it was fined but said “at no point did I go and do any of the things they’re claiming to dogs.”

“You should know these accusations, not only do they have no validity, but whatever research was being done must have helped humans at some level,” he said.

Oz’s Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, seized on the issue, calling Oz “a puppy killer.”

The Washington Post reported that Oz called Eric Rose, chief of cardiac surgery at Columbia, in October and asked him to say publicly that Oz did not bear responsibility for the animal testing.

Rose declined and told the newspaper he disagreed with Oz’s politics and had issue with Trump.

Oz responded by telling Rose that Trump isn’t the real leader of the Republican Party and that Mastriano “won’t win” the Nov. 8 general election, the Washington Post reported.

Oz’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment but confirmed for the Washington Post that he called Rose about the animal testing issue, while denying he made the comments about Trump and Mastriano.

Oz and Mastriano rarely campaign together. Oz has taken a traditional approach in the closing days of the election, with messaging that reaches to moderate Republicans, Democrats, and independents. Mastriano’s campaign has stuck to the hard-right themes that helped him with the May primary.

Oz’s campaign has denied responsibility for the animal tests and claimed the Senate Majority PAC was forced to remove the ads because they were inaccurate.

The Senate Majority PAC told The Inquirer the ads came down because its reserved time on television had run out. But after Oz’s campaign claimed they’d been removed, the Democratic PAC decided to run the ads for several additional days.

“We felt the best way to combat the lie was to do an encore round of the ad to prove no such thing happened,” the PAC’s communication director Veronica Yoo said.

Senate Majority PAC paid $1.1 million to air two ads on the subject, part of $46.6 million the group is spending in the Senate race his year, according to AdImpact, which tracks political ads and spending.

Staff writer Julia Terruso contributed to this article.

Did Doug Mastriano just take a legislative shot at Mehmet Oz over animal testing?

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