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Chimp Advocates Stage Disruption in IBM’s Lobby

January 24, 2017 by Leave a Comment

The News

After being strung along for months with promises from IBM, advocates fighting on behalf of the chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center (NYBC) staged a disruption in the company’s lobby in NYC. IBM is one of NYBC’s largest corporate partners.

Over the past four months, IBM gave advocates the distinct impression that the company was genuinely concerned about the abandoned chimps and that it planned to demand accountability from NYBC, which operates a lucrative blood collection site at an IBM campus in upstate New York. Advocates now realize that company’s ongoing expression of concern was merely strategy to contain them — with the hope that they would go away.

Advocates say that, as IBM misled the community by stringing them along, a real atrocity with real victims was taking place. Advocates also say that, as long as IBM continues to turn a blind eye to NYBC’s crime while maintaining a mutually beneficial alliance with the organization, the company remains complicit.

Advocates stage protest at IBM building in NYC (Photo by Michael Whitley Photography

For a 30 year period starting in the mid-1970s, NYBC conducted experiments on approximately 500 chimpanzees in Liberia, where they could capture, breed and experiment on them with little regulatory oversight. After completing the research, 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 their 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In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst.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.

Chimpanzees abandoned by the NY Blood Center on islands in Liberia

NYBC, 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. Advocates are now demanding that NYBC’s corporate partners, like IBM, hold the organization accountable for its crime.

Your Turn

Sign the petition to IBM.

Use this tweet sheet, which targets IBM and other NY Blood Center partners.

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 the NY Blood Center to provide lifelong care to their former laboratory chimps.

Filed under: Experimentation
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