[Ed. Note: For more about the abuse of animals in labs, visit Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN).]
Ken was immediately taken from his mother after being born at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, N.M., on Jan. 6, 1982. Ken was bled for the first time before he was 12 hours old and had blood drawn another seven times that first year. During this time he repeatedly suffered from diarrhea and infections. On Feb. 23, 1983, at 13 months of age, he was shipped to the Bureau of Epidemiology at the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) in Phoenix, Ariz. Eight months later he was transferred to CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., for use in viral hepatitis research. He returned to Alamogordo, N.M., on Aug. 21, 1985, after having been infected with hepatitis A from human fecal substrate and hepatitis C from chimpanzee serum viruses.
Ken has been anesthetized at least 102 times over his lifetime with the anesthetics ketamine and telazol. Seventy-seven of those anesthetizations occurred between Sept. 30, 1985, and Dec. 5, 1996, when he was used in hepatitis studies, and included multiple blood draws, three liver biopsies, and one lymph node biopsy. On Dec. 5, 1996, Ken tested HIV positive and was recommended, along with 13 other chimpanzees, to be “retired from the contract” with Science Applications International Corporation, a company using all of the chimpanzees in HIV experiments. From that time until his transfer to SNPRC on July 1, 2010, his anesthesia inductions were limited primarily to health maintenance exams.
Since Sept. 15, 2005, Ken has shown a steady decline in his albumin, the main carrier protein that is largely responsible for the blood’s hydrostatic pressure. As albumin declines, fluid can accumulate in tissues or the body cavities, including the abdomen. This decrease in albumin is likely a direct result of Ken’s infection with hepatitis C and associated liver disease. However, kidney disease can also cause a decrease in albumin. This decrease in albumin production is likely responsible for Ken’s problems with swelling of the scrotum and abdomen in recent years.
Ken’s dire health is confirmed by the presence of a Do Not Resuscitate (“DNR”) order in his medical file, which was signed by five APF veterinarians. The following is from the DNR order dated April 28, 2010:
Ken (1216) is a 28 year old hepatitis C infected, HIV positive male chimpanzee that has been diagnosed with multiple chronic clinical disease processes by the veterinary staff at APF. The clinical disease processes that 1216 is afflicted with include: scrotal edema, hypoalbuminemia, hypocalcemia, multiform ventricular premature contractions, and congestive heart failure. The current differential diagnosis includes congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy.
1216 has been evaluated by each member of the Alamogordo Primate Facility veterinary staff. Ken’s condition is stable. He is being provided with supportive care, his conditions are medically managed and he is being intensively monitored. However, none of these treatments are curative and acute decompensation may occur.
It is the consensus of the Alamogordo Primate Facility veterinary staff that due to the grave prognosis associated with these diseases, 1216 will not be resuscitated in the event of acute decompensation. This does not preclude providing supportive therapy as needed, so long as the outcome will involve the return of 1216 to an acceptable quality of life in a reasonable amount of time. Humane euthanasia will be performed by the veterinarian in attendance.
An exam on June 21, 2010, and the DNR order in his file confirm that Ken is at high risk of sudden death. His health will continue to deteriorate at SNPRC, and his physical and psychological needs cannot be met by the facility, which plans to use him in invasive experimentation.