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. https://youtu.be/0hcToJBA22k 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: [caption id="attachment_9289" align="alignnone" width="996"] Letter from NYC Council Members to NYBC[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_9290" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Liberians hired by HSUS feed the chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center (photo: Jeff Topham)[/caption] In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst.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. [caption id="attachment_9291" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Daily food delivery (photo: Jeff Topham)[/caption]
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.