[Ed. Note: For more about the abuse of animals in labs, visit Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN).]
The information below is an analysis by veterinarian Henry Melvyn Richardson, D.V.M., of Cammy's medical and behavioral records that were obtained from NIH through the federal Freedom of Information Act:
Cammy was born into the system at Holloman Air Force Base on Nov. 18, 1980. The first notation in her record states that an “apparently healthy N.B. (newborn) was admitted to the nursery at 3:15 p.m.” She was hypothermic with a body temperature of 94 F, indicating she was presumably abandoned by her mother. Her umbilical cord was still intact. She was warmed, and half-strength baby formula was started. She had not nursed from her mother, April. Other details of her birth are unknown. Over the next six months she was treated for diarrhea and formula intolerance, as so often occurs in bottle-raised chimpanzees. She was anesthetized for the first time on Sept. 24, 1981, to tattoo her with her identification number.
That would be the first of many anesthetic episodes for Cammy. She has been anesthetized 108 times since that first episode at roughly 6 months of age. The years 1994 to 1996 were the worst for Cammy. She was anesthetized 57 times. She was being tested following the protocol #942009. While I could find no details of this protocol in the record, there were multiple blood draws under anesthesia. On Dec. 5, 1994, she was anesthetized twice on the same day. And she has had at least 18 liver biopsies. Liver biopsies are performed with the passage of a stainless steel biopsy needle through the abdominal wall into the liver, and then liver tissue is aspirated. Using ketamine anesthesia alone, as was the case with Cammy, provides little analgesia or postoperative pain relief. There is no indication pain medications were given postoperatively to Cammy.
Cammy was loaned out (not clear from the records if she physically left the Coulston Foundation) to Phoenix CDC and Atlanta CDC (assume CDC is Center for Disease Control) for research projects from 1982 to 1985. At CDC she was intravenously given inoculums of human stool (feces) containing hepatitis A virus. She also received inoculums from chimp liver and human liver. At one point during this time, she was anesthetized and given the human Norwalk virus via stomach tube, a gastrointestinal virus causing vomiting and diarrhea in people.
Cammy is currently 30 years old and approaching her geriatric years. Chimpanzees in the wild are considered geriatric at 33 to 34 years. Captive chimps have lived well into their 50s (Jane Goodall Institute and Chimp Haven). She is positive for hepatitis C and is suffering from renal (kidney) insufficiency, which was diagnosed as early as May 28, 2003. She was treated at the time for renal disease with cimetidine to protect her stomach from ulcers seen in renal disease, and Enalapril, which is shown to increase blood flow to the kidneys, thereby assisting kidney function. While these records on page indicate her renal insufficiency resolved in 2005, pages 177-178 indicate “possible early renal failure” and to “push fluids UFN (until further notice).” Cammy has been receiving juice three times daily since 2008 to insure she maintains hydration, and she maintains evidence of renal disease.
Cammy’s kidney problems make her an at-risk chimpanzee in my professional opinion. Placing her in a research environment where she will often be anesthetized for long periods on consecutive days is dangerous. Subjecting her to long periods of hypovolemia (reduction of blood volume from dehydration and blood sampling), as often can occur during anesthesia and recovery as well as research protocols requiring large volumes of blood, is not in the best interest of Cammy.
I recommend Cammy be moved back to Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico for permanent retirement from research.