On May 26, several employees of the New York Blood Center (NYBC) assaulted advocates protesting the organization’s decision to abandon 66 chimpanzees with no food or water on islands in Liberia. One man wearing a maintenance uniform, who punched and shoved protesters for several minutes, pulled out a switch blade. Video shows NYBC’s security team restraining him twice during the confrontation.
The protest lasted approximately 30 minutes and culminated with the arrival of police. Advocates continued to protest for another hour at the entrance to educate NYBC employees as they left the building for the day. Most either ignored the advocates or commented that humans are more important than chimps, as if to suggest that NYBC shouldn’t spend money to feed them.
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.
In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst.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.
The campaign to compel NYBC to reinstate funding for the chimps has escalated with activists targeting the organization’s major corporate donors. One former donor, Citigroup, contributed $50,000 toward the care of the chimps and stated that “the situation is not tolerable.” MetLife, on the other hand, has refused to make a public statement or meet with the community in spite of the fact that it is NYBC’s largest corporate donor and partner.
At a press conference 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
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.