Documents Show 'Alarming' Animal Welfare Violations In CDC Labs, PETA Says

ToplineAccording to documents obtained Monday by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, repeated violations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's animal welfare regulations have led to the suffering and death of hundreds of animals in lab experiments.PETA obtained documents from the CDC proving that it did not follow protocols in animal experiments. gettyThe Key FactsAccording to Forbes documents, over 400 animals died in CDC facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado and Atlanta between November 2017 and April 2021 due to staff not following animal welfare procedures. According to federal documents, animals died from lack of food, water, or air. There were also instances of anesthetic overdoses and improperly conducted euthanasia. Forbes was also able to see documents obtained by PETA through a Freedom of Information Act request. PETA reached out to AAALAC International, a private organization that is widely regarded as the best in welfare in animal research to revoke the CDCs accreditation. Although AAALAC accreditation can be an optional measure for most laboratories, it is mandatory for federal laboratorys like the CDC. This is because they are not inspected by USDA, which enforces animal welfare laws. Forbes also did not receive multiple requests for comment from the CDC.Important BackgroundBiomedical research requires animal testing. The U.S. regulations require a series of tests on animals before any human testing can take place. The USDA oversees laws like the Animal Welfare Act to ensure that labs maintain high standards of animal welfare. To ensure that these standards are maintained, the regulator inspects both university and private labs. However, it made a surprising policy change in 2019 and only partial inspections were conducted for labs accredited through AAALAC. After a review revealed deficiencies in its research program and labs, AAALAC reprimanded the CDC in 2005.Important QuoteMartnez wrote to AAALAC. The CDC has not changed in 16 years since 2005, when it was placed on probation. Because of the sloppiness of its staff and their flagrant disregard for AAALAC standards, animals kept in its laboratories continue suffering and dying by the hundreds.What to WatchMany are seeking to end animal research. Many people argue that this process is costly, time-consuming and inaccurate due to differences between humans and animals. Critics also consider the process cruel and unneeded. Some jurisdictions and organizations are trying to ban animal testing using technology such as organs-on chipss and computer simulations. However, these efforts are usually restricted to specific groups of animals.Continue readingUSDA only inspects certain lab animal facilities now, according to internal documents (Science).