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Advocates March to Home of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian To Protest Abandoned Chimps

July 28, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

In spite of petitions, protests and letters from concerned citizens around the world, MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian continues to ignore the abandoned chimp crisis created by the New York Blood Center (NYBC), an organization that the company bankrolls.  Dozens of activists, therefore, took the campaign to his home in Summit, NJ, an exclusive suburb of NYC, for the second time since May 2015.

Activists march through Summit, NJ, the home of MetLife's CEO.

Activists march through Summit, NJ, to the home of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian.

Activists marched from Summit’s train station to Kandarian’s home and back, all the while engaging with and distributing leaflets to Mandarin’s neighbors and other Summit residents. While some were annoyed by the presence of activists in a quiet suburb, others were eager to learn about the issue.

Activists protest in Summit, NJ, the home of MetLife's CEO.

Activists protest in Summit, NJ, the home of MetLife’s CEO.

“We are sorry that it has come to the point that we have to show up on Kandarian’s doorstep,” said Donny Moss, one of the organizers. “We are also genuinely confused about why a company that prides itself on corporate social responsibility is not only turning a blind eye to an atrocity being committed by an organization that it supports but also refusing to publicly address the crisis in spite of pleas by thousands of people worldwide.”

Activists protest at the home of MetLife's CEO, Steven Mandarin.

Activists protest at the home of MetLife’s CEO, Steven Mandarin.

“Tap Into Summit,” a local news outlet, reported on the protest both before and after.

The protest was covered by "Tap into Summit," a local news outlet.

The protest was covered by “Tap into Summit,” a local news outlet.

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.

Activists stage a disruption in the MetLife building's lobby.

Activists stage a disruption in the MetLife building’s lobby.

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.

chimpanzees abandoned by the NY Blood Center

Chimpanzees in Liberia abandoned by the NY 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.

chimpanzees abandoned by the NY Blood Center receive food from a local volunteer

A Liberian volunteer distributes food to chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center

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.


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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Elected Officials Demand That NY Blood Center Reinstate Funding for Abandoned Chimps (VIDEO)

May 23, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Elected officials in New York held a press conference at City Hall to demand that the New York Blood Center fulfill its promise to provide lifelong care for the 66 ex-lab chimpanzees who the group abandoned on islands in Liberia with no food or water. The press conference was organized by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has stepped in on an emergency basis to feed the chimps using money raised through a GoFundMe campaign.

After demanding that NYBC resumes the funding, New York State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal said, “This isn’t a scene out of Lost,” referring to the TV series in which airplane crash survivors are stranded on a desert island. “This is real life for these chimpanzees.”

New York State Senator Tony Avella also condemned NYBC’s decision to abandon the chimpanzees: “They used them for 30 years, and now they just dump them on this island. So we stand here today to tell the New York Blood Center to do the right thing and follow through on your commitment.”

During the press conference, Joyce Friedman, the NYC Coordinator for HSUS, announced that ten New York City Council Members wrote an open letter to the NYBC demanding that the organization resumes funding:

Letter from NYC Council Members to NYBC

Letter from NYC Council Members to NYBC

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.

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 (photo: Jeff Topham)

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 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.

Daily food delivery (photo: Jeff Topham)

Daily food delivery (photo: Jeff Topham)

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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Sparks Fly During Chimp Protest at Home of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian

May 16, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

In spite of petitions, protests and letters from concerned citizens around the world, MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian continues to ignore the chimp crisis created by the NY Blood Center (NYBC), so activists took the campaign to his neighbors in Summit, NJ, an exclusive suburb of NYC.

MetLife is the largest corporate donor of the NYBC, which left 66 chimpanzees on islands in Liberia with no food or water after conducting experiments on them for 30 years; earning an estimated $500 million in royalties; and promising to provide them with lifelong care. Since May 2015, advocates worldwide have asked MetLife to hold NYBC accountable, but the company, which prides itself on “corporate social responsibility,” has refused to respond.

Advocates educate MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian's neighbors about his complicity in the abandoned chimp crisis

Advocates educate MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian’s neighbors about his complicity in the abandoned chimp crisis

While most of Mr. Kandarian’s neighbors were eager to hear why advocates were protesting in his neighborhood, one man (wearing pale blue shirt) virtually assaulted them as they marched through the town of Summit, which is one mile away from Mr. Kandarian’s mansion.

An inexplicably angry man in Summit, NJ, aggressively confronts advocates protesting MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian

An inexplicably angry man in Summit, NJ, aggressively confronts advocates protesting MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian

On April 26th, animal rights activists in NYC staged a 30 minute disruption inside of the MetLife building at the height of rush hour. The company’s decision to ignore the protesters instead of engaging them triggered them to take the campaign to the CEO’s hometown.

Kandarian-protest-summit-march

Advocates protesting chimp abandonment march through the town of Summit, NJ

In an article entitled Animal Rights Group Protests Outside of MetLife CEO’s Residence in Summit, Mr. Kandarian’s hometown newspaper published a lengthy story about the protest.

Kandarian-protest-summit-march2

Advocates inform Steven Kandarian’s neighbors about his complicity in the New York Blood Center abandoned chimpanzee crisis

Your Turn

Sign the Care2 petition to MetLife.

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 “Save NYBC Chimps” on Instagram and Twitter.


Filed under: Experimentation
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VIDEO: Heads Turn in Oakland as Activists Protest New York Blood Center’s Owen Garrick

March 24, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

As hundreds of workers entered and exited their office building in downtown Oakland on March 18th, one thing became clear to the activists who were outside protesting their neighbor from Suite 013:  Most of them already knew that Owen Garrick abandoned chimpanzees in Liberia from news coverage and prior protests, and most were grateful that people were speaking out on behalf of the chimps.

“Owen Garrick must be using a back entrance and taking the stairs in order to avoid facing people in his building,” said protest organizer and primatologist Bob Ingersoll. “After three protests, his neighbors have told us they know who he is and about the moral crime he committed.”

Advocates distributed several hundred handouts to Owen Garrick's neighbors in Oakland, CA

Advocates distributed several hundred handouts to Owen Garrick’s neighbors in Oakland, CA

Animal rights activists stage protest in Oakland at the office building of NY Blood Center Board Member Owen Garrick

Activists stage protest in Oakland at the office building of NY Blood Center’s Owen Garrick

Activists are protesting Owen Garrick and his colleagues on the board of the New York Blood Center because they all bear responsibility for the organization’s decision to abandon their former lab chimpanzees on desert islands with no food or water after promising to provide them with lifelong care. For a thirty year period starting in the mid-1970s, NYBC conducted invasive research experiments on over 400 hundred chimpanzees in Liberia, where they could capture chimps in the wild, breed them in captivity and experiment on them with little regulatory oversight.

Curious neighbors open their windows to find out why people are chanting in front of their building

Curious neighbors open their windows to find out why people are chanting in front of their building

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that the blood center walked away from its $25,000 monthly obligation, leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst while arguing that animal welfare groups should pay for the long-term care of the chimps. To date, NYBC has earned an estimated $500 million in royalties off of the research conducted on the chimps.

Chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center are fed once daily with money donated by the public

Chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center are fed once daily with money donated by the public

Your Turn

Please 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.


Filed under: Experimentation
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