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At MetLife Protest, Actress Elaine Hendrix Speaks Up For Abandoned Chimps

July 8, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

At a protest targeting MetLife for its complicity in the New York Blood Center (NYBC) chimp abandonment crisis, actress Elaine Hendrix, a tireless advocate for animals, spoke out on behalf of the 66 chimps left to die with no food or water on islands in Liberia: “MetLife is one of the largest donors to the NY Blood Center, and we’re simply asking them to help the chimps. It’s really a very easy thing that they could be doing.”

In November, 2015, primatologist Bob Ingersoll traveled from San Francisco to NYC to hand-deliver a petition to MetLife asking the company to cut its support of NYBC until the organization reinstates promised funding for its former lab chimps. While a representative from MetLife did collect the petitions from Mr. Ingersoll in the lobby, neither she nor anyone else from the company responded to him.

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petitions to a MetLife representative.

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petitions to a MetLife representative.

On April 26, activists staged a 30-minute disruption in the lobby of the MetLife building during rush hour. Two weeks later, they protested at the New Jersey home of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian. On June 14, activists held a demonstration at MetLife’s annual shareholders meeting. To date, MetLife has ignored all of the protests and the efforts to open a dialog regarding the chimpanzee crisis.

MetLife has refused to hold NYBC accountable for its abandonment of 66 chimpanzees.

MetLife has refused to hold NYBC accountable for its abandonment of 66 chimpanzees.

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding for them [the chimps],” leaving them  to die of starvation and thirst. In order to keep the chimps alive, Liberians who had been employed by the blood center to deliver food and water, began to care for them on a volunteer basis. With virtually no resources and burdened by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, these volunteers kept the chimpanzees alive until an HSUS-led coalition of over 30 animal conservation groups raised funds from the public to pay for the chimps’ care on an emergency basis.

Liberians hired by HSUS feed the chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center

Liberians hired by HSUS feed the chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center.

The New York Blood Center, which has earned an estimated $500 million in royalties off of the research conducted on the chimpanzees, has publicly stated that it has no “contractual obligation” to pay for the chimps’ food and water and has shifted the financial burden of caring for their captive chimp population to the animal welfare community.

Activists protest at the Summit NJ home of Steven Kandarian.

Activists protest at the Summit, NJ, home of Steven Kandarian.

Your Turn

Use the tweet sheet to contact MetLife, NYBC and their stakeholders.

Sign the Care2 petition to MetLife, NYBC’s largest corporate donor.

Join the Facebook page: New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing to stay apprised of news and to participate in online actions to pressure NYBC board members to fulfill their promise to provide lifelong care to their laboratory chimps.

Follow TheirTurn on Twitter, and follow “Save NYBC Chimps”on Instagram and Twitter.

Steven Mandarin is the CEO of MetLife.

Steven Mandarin is the CEO of MetLife.


Filed under: Experimentation
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Animal Advocates Protest MetLife Shareholders Meeting Over Chimp Abandonment Scandal

June 23, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

As part of an ongoing campaign to demand that MetLife hold the NY Blood Center (NYBC) accountable for abandoning its former lab chimpanzees on islands in Liberia, animal advocates protested at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in New York City.

“If MetLife prides itself on ‘corporate responsibility,’ then how can it possibly turn a blind eye to NYBC’s unconscionable decision to leave 66 chimps to starve to death?,” says protester Elena Natale. “We hope that MetLife will meet with the animal advocacy community to discuss this crisis.” MetLife is NYBC’s largest corporate donor.

Activists protest the MetLife shareholders meeting.

Activists protest the MetLife shareholders meeting.

In an apparent effort to curb interactions between protestors and shareholders, MetLife closed the main entrance to its building and rerouted meeting attendees to the back door.

The MetLife building's front door was locked in anticipation of the protest.

MetLife closed the front entrance to its building in anticipation of the protest.

Activists, unwilling to stay penned near the front entrance, exited the barricades errected by the NYPD and moved the protest to the back entrance.

Animal rights protestor at MetLife shareholders meeting.

Animal rights protestor at MetLife shareholders meeting

In November, 2015, primatologist Bob Ingersoll traveled from San Francisco to NYC to hand-deliver a petition to MetLife asking the company to cut its support of NYBC until the organization reinstates funding for the chimps. While a representative from MetLife did collect the petitions from him in the lobby, neither she nor anyone else from the company responded to him.

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petitions to a MetLife representative.

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petition to a MetLife representative.

On April 26, activists staged a 30-minute disruption in the lobby of the MetLife building during rush hour. Two weeks later, they protested at the NJ home of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian. To date, MetLife has ignored all of the protests and the efforts to open a dialog regarding the plight of the chimps.

Activists protest at the home of MetLife's CEO in Summit NJ and at its headquarters in NYC.

Activists protest at the home of MetLife’s CEO in Summit, NJ, and at its headquarters in NYC.

Former NYBC donor Citigroup, on the other hand, did respond to the pleas of animal advocates by issuing a public statement asserting that “the current situation is not tolerable” and donating $50,000 towards the care of the chimps.

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding for them,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst. In order to keep the chimps alive, Liberians who had been employed by the blood center to deliver food and water, began to care for them on a volunteer basis. With virtually no resources and burdened by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, these volunteers kept the chimpanzees alive until an HSUS-led coalition of over 30 animal conservation groups raised funds from the public to pay for the chimps’ care on an emergency basis — until NYBC reinstates funding.

A chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center with a Liberian caretaker.(AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh)

A chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center with a Liberian caretaker. (AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh)

The New York Blood Center, which has earned an estimated $500 million in royalties off of the research conducted on the chimpanzees, has publicly stated that it has no “contractual obligation” to pay for the chimps’ food and water and has shifted the financial burden of caring for their captive chimp population to the animal welfare community.

A chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center receives water from a local volunteer.

A chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center receives water from a local volunteer.

Your Turn

Sign the Care2 petition to MetLife, NYBC’s largest corporate donor.

Join the Facebook page: New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing to stay apprised of news and to participate in online actions to pressure NYBC board members to fulfill their promise to provide lifelong care to their laboratory chimps.

Use the tweet sheet to contact MetLife, NYBC and their stakeholders.

Follow TheirTurn on Twitter, and follow “Save NYBC Chimps”on Instagram and Twitter.


Filed under: Experimentation
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Center of Chimp Abandonment Scandal, Howard Milstein, Now Embroiled in Federal Subprime Loan Trial

June 20, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Howard Milstein, a multi-billionaire who has been widely criticized over the past year for his role in the NY Blood Center’s (NYBC) decision to abandon 66 chimpanzees in Liberia, is now embroiled in a federal trial regarding subprime loans made by Emigrant Savings Bank, where he serves as CEO.

Howard Milstein

Howard Milstein

According to the New York Times, Milstein expanded a program “that made hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to people with bad credit ratings and no proof that they could pay the money back” but who did “have houses that were rich in equity for collateral.” When Milstein bought Emigrant in 2004, 25% of the bank’s loans were regarded as subprime; by 2009, the number increased to 50%. Such loans are now illegal, but eight families are suing Emigrant, alleging that they were illegal a decade ago as well, largely because they were disproportionately marketed to minorities.

NY Times article reporting on a federal trial regarding subprime loans given by Emigrant Bank when Howard Milstein was its CEO.

NY Times article reporting on a federal trial regarding subprime loans given by Emigrant Bank when Howard Milstein was its CEO.

“Milstein’s exploitation of his customers comes as no surprise to us,” said Roberto Bonelli, one of the organizers of the campaign to compel Milstein and NYBC to reinstate funding for the abandoned chimpanzees. “Someone who is capable of leaving animals to starve to death is certainly capable of exploiting vulnerable humans as well.”  Howard Milstein was the chairman of NYBC’s board when the decision was made to abandon the chimpanzees. He continues to serve in that position.

Animal rights advocates protest and stage a die-in outside Howard Milstein's Park Ave. home on behalf of the chimpanzees abandoned by NYBC when he served as the chairman of its board.

Protesters stage a die-in at Howard Milstein’s Park Ave. home on behalf of the chimpanzees abandoned by NYBC.

In 2015, animal advocates staged approximately 10 protests at Milstein’s Park Avenue and Hamptons homes. According to The Real Deal, a monthly news outlet about the real estate industry, “Animal rights activists…picketed outside the Upper East Side home of the Milstein Properties head…protesting the New York Blood Center chair’s role in the organization’s treatment of research chimpanzees in Africa.”

The Real Deal reports on protests held at Milstein's park ave. home in support of the 66 chimpanzees abandoned by the NY Blood Center.

The Real Deal reports on a protest held at Milstein’s Park Ave. home.

For a 30 year period starting in the mid-1970s, NYBC conducted experiments on over 400 hundred chimpanzees in Liberia, where they could capture, breed and experiment on them with little regulatory oversight. After the research was conducted, NYBC moved the survivors onto six islands with no natural food or water and made a public commitment to provide them with lifelong care.

The NY Blood Center made a promise to provide the chimpanzees with lifelong care.

In 2005, The NY Blood Center promised to provide the chimpanzees with lifelong care.

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst. In order to keep the chimps alive, Liberians who had been employed by NYBC to deliver food and water, began to care for them on a volunteer basis. With virtually no resources and burdened by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, these volunteers kept the chimpanzees alive until a coalition of over 30 animal conservation groups, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), raised funds from the public to pay for the chimps’ care on an emergency basis.

Young chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center receives water from a local volunteer.

A volunteer provides water to a chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center.

The New York Blood Center, which earned an estimated $500 million in royalties off of the research conducted on the chimpanzees, has publicly stated that it has no “contractual obligation” to pay for the chimps’ food and water and has shifted the burden of caring for their captive chimp population to the animal welfare community.

A mother chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center shares food with her baby.

A chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center shares food with her baby.

At a press conference on May 19th organized by HSUS, NY State Senator Tony Avella and NY State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal condemned NYBC’s actions and demanded that the group resume funding for the chimps.

New York State senator Tony Avella addresses a demonstration at city hall demanding that NYBC reinstate funding for the care of the chimpanzees it abandoned.

At a press conference at NY City Hall, NY State senator Tony Avella demands that NYBC reinstate funding for the chimpanzees.

Your Turn

Sign the Care2 petition to MetLife, NYBC’s largest corporate donor.

Join the Facebook page: New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing to stay apprised of news and to participate in online actions to pressure NYBC board members to fulfill their promise to provide lifelong care to their laboratory chimps.

Use the tweet sheet to contact MetLife, NYBC and their stakeholders.

Follow TheirTurn on Twitter, and follow “Save NYBC Chimps” on Instagram and Twitter.


Filed under: Experimentation
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Neighbors of NY Blood Center Board Member Lash Out at Chimp Advocates During Nighttime Protests

June 13, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

During two nighttime protests at the home of NY Blood Center (NYBC) board member Michael Hodin, many area residents descended from their buildings to express their outrage at being disturbed after dark.

“My baby is sleeping,” said one angry man who confronted the protesters. “Give me your address, and I’ll come to your house.”

Neighbors express their outrage at being disturbed at night by chimp advocates.

Neighbors express their outrage at being disturbed at night by chimp advocates.

Activists began protesting at night only after more than a dozen daytime protests failed to persuade Hodin and his colleagues to reinstate funding for the 66 chimpanzees who they abandoned on islands in Liberia with no food or water.

“Most of these people ignored us for months when we politely asked them to contact Michael Hodin about the chimp crisis, so they shouldn’t be surprised that we came back at night – when we thought we could get their attention.” said Elena Natale, an activist who has protested at the same location several times during the day. “How odd that people explode over an hour’s worth of noise but show no anger at all about the abandonment of 66 chimps despite being made aware of the crisis week after week.”

The blood center did not acknowledge the grass roots campaign demanding that it reinstate funding for the chimps until the activists began protesting at night. “NYBC has made it clear that disruption is the only language they understand,” added Natale.

In a Q&A on its website, NYBC suggests that the chimp advocates are "bullies" who "encourage terrorism."

In a Q&A on its website, NYBC suggests that the chimp advocates are “bullies” who “encourage terrorism.”

In response to the anger, activists told area residents to complain to Michael Hodin and NYBC and noted that they will continue protesting at night until the organization fulfills its promise to provide lifelong care for the chimps.

For a thirty year period starting in the mid-1970s, NYBC conducted experiments on over 400 hundred chimpanzees in Liberia, where they could capture, breed and experiment on them with little regulatory oversight. After the research was conducted, NYBC moved the survivors onto six islands with no natural food or water and made a public commitment to provide them with lifelong care.

Chimps in Liberia left to die by the New York Blood Center

Chimps in Liberia left to die by the New York Blood Center

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst. In order to keep the chimps alive, Liberians who had been employed by NYBC to deliver food and water, began to care for them on a volunteer basis. With virtually no resources and burdened by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, these volunteers kept the chimpanzees alive until a coalition of over 30 animal conservation groups, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), raised funds from the public to pay for the chimps’ care on an emergency basis.

At a press conference on May 19th organized by HSUS, NY State Senator Tony Avella and NY State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal condemned NYBC’s actions and demanded that the group resume funding for the chimps.

NY State Senator Tony Avella Demands that NY Blood Center reinstates funding for the 66 chimps who they abandoned.

NY State Senator Tony Avella Demands that NY Blood Center reinstates funding for the 66 chimps who they abandoned.

Your Turn

Sign the Care2 petition and NYCLASS petitions to MetLife, NYBC’s largest corporate donor.

Join the Facebook page: New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing to stay apprised of news and to participate in online actions to pressure NYBC board members to fulfill their promise to provide lifelong care to their laboratory chimps.

Use the tweet sheet to contact MetLife, NYBC and their stakeholders.

Follow TheirTurn on Twitter, and follow “Save NYBC Chimps” on Instagram and Twitter.


Filed under: Experimentation
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Unlocking The Cage Premieres in New York City

June 7, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Unlocking the Cage, a highly-anticipated new film that documents the historic battle by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) to win legal rights for nonhuman animals, premiered in New York City on May 25th.

The film’s directors, D A Pennebaker and Chris Hedegus, who, according to the New York Times, have made the “most memorable documentaries of the past half-century,” followed their subject, Steven Wise, for four years to record his effort to achieve personhood for several chimpanzees in New York being held captive in laboratories and roadside zoos.

“We are grateful to Pennebaker and Hegedus not only for making such an excellent film about the groundbreaking legal work of Steven Wise and the NhRP but also because their involvement will expand the reach of the film to mainstream audiences worldwide,” said Kevin Schneider, Executive Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project.

From left to right: NhRP President Steven Wise and Unlocking The Cage filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus

From left to right: NhRP President Steven Wise and Unlocking The Cage filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (photo: Lukas Maverick Greyson)

On the day before the worldwide premiere at the Film Forum in Greenwich Village, the New York Times gave the film a favorable review:

“It is hard to watch Unlocking the Cage without being somewhat swayed by the arguments — or at least impressed by the sincerity — of Steven Wise, a leading animal-rights lawyer. . . Mr. Wise has argued that animals should have the legal status of persons. What this means is not that they should be classified as human, but rather that their rights should be acknowledged and protected under the law.”

The review contains a strong pro-animal rights message: “It is also possible that practices and attitudes now widely taken as natural will look arbitrary and cruel to future generations, and that the future will arrive sooner than many of us expect. It wouldn’t be the first time.”

Unlocking The Cage premiered in NYC on June 25th.

Unlocking The Cage premiered in NYC on May 25th.

Your Turn

To stay apprised of developments with Unlocking the Cage, please follow the film’s Facebook page.

To learn more about the groundbreaking work of the Nonhuman Rights Project, please visit the organization’s website.


Filed under: Entertainment, Experimentation
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