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New York Blood Center Caves in to Global Pressure, Giving $6 Million for Care Of Chimps

May 30, 2017 by Leave a Comment

The News

After being targeted by animal rights activists for two years over its decision to abandon 66 chimpanzees on islands in Liberia, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) caved in to pressure, making a $6 million contribution toward their lifelong care.  The decision represents a major victory not only for the chimps but also for animal protection advocates in NYC and around the world who participated in online actions, staged protests and signed Care2 petitions. Here’s a short video from what turned out to be the final protest:

“When I realized that NYBC was prepared to let their chimps die of starvation and thirst on deserted islands after holding them captive in cages for 30 years and conducting hundreds of painful experiments on them, I decided to rally caring people around the world to demand accountability and take action,” said Wally Baldwin, who serves of the Board of the Center for Great Apes and runs the Facebook page, NYBC: Do The Right Thing. “I am gratified that our efforts paid off.”

Chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center on islands in Liberia await their daily delivery of food and water.

When the New York Times reported in May, 2015, that NYBC cut off all funding for the 66 remaining survivors of its research experiments and for the Liberians who took care of them, grass roots activists in NYC launched a protest campaign that targeted not only NYBC but also its top three corporate partners, IBMMetLife, and Citigroup. After meeting with the activists and/or being subjected to protests, all three companies issued public statements severing ties with NYBC, and Citigroup made an unsolicited contribution of $50,000 toward the care of the chimps.

“Our ability to compel multinational corporations to take the bold and unusual step of speaking out publicly against an organization with which they had a decades-long relationship demonstrates that grass roots advocacy can effect meaningful change,” said Donny Moss, one of the campaign organizers.

Public statements about the abandoned chimps posted by IBM, Citigroup and MetLife

Other significant milestones in the campaign were the resignations of two of the four NYBC board members targeted by the activists, Owen Garrick, who is based in Oakland, California, and Laurie Glimcher, who also quit her job as Dean of Cornell Medicine and moved to Boston after months of being targeted with protests.

From left to right: Michael Hodin, Laurie Glimcher and Chairman Howard Milstein were three of the four NYBC board members targeted by activists in NYC; Ponso is the sole survivor of a colony of 20 chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center in the Ivory Coast. Advocates are working with authorities to move him across the border into Liberia so he is not alone and can receive optimal care.

The $6 million contributed by NYBC is expected to cover half of the cost of the lifelong care of the chimps. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which stepped in to take care of the chimps when NYBC abandoned them, will pay for the other half using contributions to its GoFundMe Campaign, which has raised $363,000 since 2015. For more details about the agreement between HSUS and NYBC, please see this press release issued by HSUS.

In August, 2015, HSUS hired Jenny and Jim Desmond, an American couple with experience in great ape rescue, to oversee the care of the chimps. With funds donated to HSUS, the Desmonds were able to not only hire back almost all of the Liberians who lost their jobs when NYBC cut the funding but also make dramatic improvements to the care of the chimps, including daily feedings (instead of every other day); an improved diet that takes their nutritional needs into account; and birth control.

Activists stage protest inside the lobby of the New York Blood Center

In addition to taking care of the chimps, HSUS has worked to raise awareness of their plight by staging a massive protest at NYBC and making public statements in conjunction with Dr. Jane Goodall, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, primatologist Dr. Brian Hare, and actresses Kate and Rooney Mara who traveled to Liberia to visit the islands.

Your Turn

Thank you to all of the activists around the world who have spoken out on behalf of the abandoned chimps. Together, we did this!

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Neil says:

    Well done guys good job very good news people power

  2. Brenda Summers says:

    This is an amazing feat! Thank you to all involved who made this happen. I am so light of heart right now, and it amazes me that this was successful and if not for those who endlessly worked at this, it wouldn’t have turned out this way. Thank you,thank you, thank you❣❣❣God bless all who are continuing to help the chimps too.All I did was sign petitions. I feel so useless compared to this. Thank God for the good ppl in this world❣This is a victory for animals all over the world too. We can fight and win for them! This proves we can change things. Thank you to all who helped with this. Everyone counts of course,but especially Donny.God bless. ❤

  3. Zizi says:

    HSUS has just released and published their version of this major victory…and I felt obliged to leave the following comment on their page:

    While we are truly grateful and acknowledge the efforts and support of HSUS for these unfortunate, abandoned chimps, it is important to know that this agreement would NEVER had happened without the dogged determination of Donny Moss, activist extraordinaire, who led frequent demonstrations at the Blood Bank, at the homes of Board members, and who worked tirelessly to get IBM, MetLife, CitiGroup, to end their collaboration with NYBC! Please read about those who did the day-to-day grunge work at home, so that the chimps would eventually have justice! And shame on HSUS for failing to acknowledge the truly significant role that Donny and others played in making this agreement happen!

    1. Larry Trepel says:

      I left a comment on the HSUS site as well. Goes to Wayne Pacelle’s blog, but I don’t think it appears on the site anywhere. Regardless, they deserve praise but also criticism for leaving Donny’s campaign out. Totally unnecessary.

  4. Larry Trepel says:

    Incredible, relentless work and effort by Donny Moss. So rare to win a cause like this, and could easily have gone the other way if Donny hadn’t kept pushing. Credit to HSUS for their contribution, but they should also give credit where it is due.

  5. Jannette Patterson says:

    Everyone who knows anything about this 2 year campaign knows that Donny Moss made it happen. His determination, his intelligent focus on strategy, and his ability to motivate others brought a victory for the chimps. It’s shameful that HSUS didn’t recognize his efforts as they rush in to take credit for this, they know it would not have happened without his tireless work. Biggest chimp hoots to our hero, Donny!

  6. David Nathanson says:


    HUGE congratulations to you and your colleagues for working so hard on this issue. It’s lovely to see that all of your advocacy work and passion has made this happen!

  7. MOREY MOSS says:


  8. Terry says:


    Thank you so much for all the work you’ve done on behalf of the chimps. It was a long hard fight and you never gave up. I think that you had a lot to do with the outcome. Thanks also for all the people who came to the demonstrations.

  9. Lauren says:

    I’ve been following the FB group for so long, & watching other followers lose heart & numbers dwindle. But the chimps are still there, & still in need, so I’ve kept following this group if only to give moral support because these tenacious souls are doing the hard thing that must be done. I am SO GLAD & GRATEFUL to see their hard work & undying effort rewarded. Maybe there is a God. This is just wonderful.

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