Approximate number of chimpanzees: 0; previously 8
Founded in 1946 to help control malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current mission is “to collaborate to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health—through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.” (1) The CDC in Atlanta, Georgia operates under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and “is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting public health activities in the United States.” They employ “more than 14,000 employees in 54 countries…” (2)
The CDC’s animal laboratory facilities each have its own Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee its animal program, facility, and procedures. (3) The species housed at these facilities include “non-human primates, rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, and ferrets, among others.” (4) At the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Laboratory Branch in Atlanta, the lead scientist and IACUC Chairperson, Dr. Ron Otten, “estimate[d] that several dozen non-human primates [were] currently involved in HIV/AIDS research at CDC” in 2006 (5). On average, the CDC had “approximately 500” nonhuman primates in 2006 (6).
Purportedly, the CDC mainly used chimpanzees in hepatitis vaccine research (7). In 2006, the CDC was placed on probation by the international accreditation group, the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care -International, for serious problems in caring for their animals. Some reported issues included:
- A single chimpanzee underwent 10 liver needle biopsy attempts by a researcher (more than three is considered too many by the CDC);
- Limited access to water for some animals, which resulted in the death of two animals from dehydration;
- Three non-human primates died from the anesthesia and analgesic combinations during operations;
- Chimpanzees were deprived of environmental stimulation; and
- Sloppy record-keeping. (8)
As of 2010, the CDC reportedly closed their chimpanzee facility and transferred the chimpanzees to the New Iberia Research Center.
According to the CDC, the majority of their research involving animals focuses on “infectious disease biomedical research in the areas of virology, bacteriology, mycology, immunology, and parasitology.” (9) They also use non-human primates in HIV/AIDS prevention research areas. (10) The CDC sometimes uses non-animal alternatives in research, although frequently they do not (11).
On December 8, 2004, the President signed into law H.R. 4818, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, for fiscal year 2005. CDC received a total funding level of $6.9 billion for FY 2005 (12). According to the CDC website, “Between FY 2003 and FY 2006, the Animal Resource Branch spent about $5.2 million a year. Following the AAALAC preliminary report [in 2005], CDC increased that budget by 55%. Excluding one time equipment purchases in FY 2006, the FY 2007 budget included a 3.5% increase over the FY 2006 budget.” (13) For FY 2009, the “President’s Budget submission include[d] a total funding level for the CDC/ATSDR of $8.8 billion, which reflect[ed] a decrease of approximately $412.1 million below the FY 2008 Enacted level.” (14)