Statement from the Director: CDC Animal Care and Use
We are deeply sorry for the mistakes in our animal care and use program that led to the mishandling of animals in our care, including, sadly, the accidental death of non-human primates. CDC conducted a comprehensive review and determined that there was no single cause for the deficiencies, but a series of issues that led to these failings, including fragmented oversight, lack of centralized accountability, inadequate training, programs that outgrew resources, and outdated information management systems and equipment. The problems worsened over many years, and temporary fixes were simply inadequate to improve a system that really required a complete modernization and top leadership attention.
CDC is now committed to being an exemplar of excellence in animal care and use, but remains severely chastened by its past failings. We are deeply committed to maintaining the world class animal care and use program that we have now established. We take full responsibility for our past mistakes.
CDC has the moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to humanely care for the animals who contribute to the science and research that benefit all humans. We have taken what we learned through the last year to build a world-class animal care and use program that others will be proud to emulate. CDC moved oversight of the animal care and use program to the Office of the Director, putting it on par with human-subject research. In addition, we strengthened independent monitoring of our animal care practices and hired 18 additional full-time employees. We also increased training and program funding, applied a new Congressional appropriation to augment our success, and took specific steps to improve the safety and humanity of our care.
While we all wish that we could advance health and medical research without
involving animals, we know that some of science’s greatest advances in
saving humans could only have come from this research. Therefore, until our
science techniques evolve to the point that animals are no longer necessary
to help in human medical research, we will do what is in our power to ensure
their contribution is relevant and the fruits of our findings are shared by
people around the world – but only if we can do so with the highest standard
of humane and safe care for everyone of them.
Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Page last modified: 11/16/2006