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New York Blood Center Employees Assault Chimp Advocates

June 1, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

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.

New York Blood Center employees confront chimp advocates.

New York Blood Center employees confront chimp advocates.

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

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst.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.

Caregiver hired by HSUS with money donated by the public (photo: Jeff Topham)

Caregiver hired by HSUS with money donated by the public (photo: Jeff Topham)

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.

NY State Senator Tony Avella Demands that NY Blood Center reinstates funding for the 66 chimps who they abandoned.

NY State Senator Tony Avella Demands that NY Blood Center reinstates funding for the 66 chimps who they abandoned.

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

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.


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Activists Occupy MetLife Building To Protest Chimp Abandonment (VIDEO)

April 29, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

On April 26th, animal rights activists in NYC staged a 30 minute disruption inside of the MetLife building at the height of rush hour. Protesters demanded MetLife hold the New York Blood Center (NYBC) accountable for its decision to abandon 66 chimps in Liberia. As NYBC’s largest corporate donor and partner, MetLife can compel the organization to uphold certain ethical standards – or risk losing funding.

In May 2015, when the NY Times reported that NYBC cut off all funding for the chimps and their caregivers, advocates worldwide began contacting MetLife, believing that a company that prides itself on “corporate social responsibility” would intervene on behalf of NYBC’s victims. MetLife has neither responded to the communications nor made any public statements about the scandal.

MetLife-Lobby-disruption

Approximately 20 activists occupied the lobby of the MetLife building for 30 minutes during rush hour. Employees were diverted to the back exit.

Participants suspect that the police did not make trespassing arrests because MetLife does not want to draw more attention to the scandal

Participants suspect that the police did not make trespassing arrests because MetLife does not want to draw more attention to the scandal

In November, 2015, primatologist Bob Ingersoll, who is the subject of the documentary film Project Nim, 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 funding for the chimps. While a representative from the company did collect the petition from him in the lobby, neither she nor anyone else from the company responded to him.

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petition to MetLife, asking company to cut funding to New York Blood Center

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petition to MetLife, asking company to cut funding to New York Blood Center

MetLife has considerable influence over the operations of NYBC, both as a donor as its rent-free landlord. MetLife donates space to the blood center in its global headquarters.

NYBC blood collection site in the MetLife building

NYBC blood collection site in the MetLife building

In March, another NYBC donor, Citigroup, did respond to the call of advocates, issuing a public statement asserting that “the current situation is not tolerable” and making an unsolicited $50,000 donation toward the care of NYBC’s chimps. Until MetLife takes similar action, activists in the New York area intend to step up their campaign, staging protests at MetLife’s office buildings and at the homes of executives who have failed to respond to the global outcry.

Citigroup takes a principled stand on behalf of the chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center

Citigroup takes a principled stand on behalf of the chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center

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.

The New York Blood Center abandoned 66 chimps in Liberia, leaving them to die of hunger and thirst

The New York Blood Center abandoned 66 chimps in Liberia, leaving them to die of hunger and thirst

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding for them,” 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 — until NYBC reinstates funding.

Jane Goodall attempted to meet with the NY Blood Center, but the organization refused.

Jane Goodall attempted to meet with the NY Blood Center, but the organization refused.

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.

 

 


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Activists Stage “Die-in” at Home of New York Blood Center’s Michael Hodin

February 8, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Activists are not taking the New York Blood Center’s decision to abandon their surviving lab chimps lying down — unless they’re staging a “die-in” at the homes of the organization’s board members.

On February 4th, approximately 20 activists symbolically perished in front of the Upper West Side home of Michael Hodin, a wealthy businessman who, along with his colleagues at the NY Blood Center, left the group’s 66 surviving lab chimpanzees to die with no food or water on islands in Liberia after promising to provide them with lifelong care.

Activists stage die-in at the home of Michael Hodin, a New York Blood Center board member

Activists stage die-in at the home of Michael Hodin, a New York Blood Center board member (Chimp photo: Jeff Topham)

During three increasingly disruptive protests staged at Michael Hodin’s home, residents from his building and the neighborhood displayed mixed emotions – from gratitude to grief to anger.

Michael-Hodin-protest-tears (1)

A pedestrian broke into tears when she learned that the NY Blood Center abandoned chimpanzees

One woman who exited and re-entered the building masked her identity by wearing a conical hat. Based on a fleeting view of her face, protesters suspected that she was Michael Hodin’s wife, Nancy.

From left to right: Howard Milstein, Nancy Hodin, Nancy Hodin (?)

From left to right: Howard Milstein, Nancy Hodin, woman masking her identity (Nancy Hodin?)

During the second protest at Michael Hodin’s home, held on January 28th, a few of his neighbors castigated the activists as they entered the building. “You guys are crazy,” said one resident. Protesters surmise that Hodin distributed a flyer in the building about the protests in an attempt to exonerate himself and discredit the activists.

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 executives and board members to fulfill their promise to provide lifelong care to their laboratory chimps.


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What is New York Blood Center Board Member Owen Garrick Hiding?

February 1, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

If NY Blood Center Board Member Owen Garrick made one thing clear during the two day protest at his office, it’s that he desperately wants to avoid the spotlight. Garrick runs a for profit business out of the office of a charity he created. His business is not listed on the company directory in the lobby, and after the first two protests, he removed his business address from his company’s website.

Owen Garrick removed the address of his business from his company's website. Is that because he is running it out of the office of a charity he created?

Before and after — Owen Garrick removed the address of his business from his company’s website after the protests. Is that because he is running it out of the office of a charity he created?

He also removed himself from the list of employees of his own charity – the same charity where he operates his business. Before the protests, he was listed as the Treasurer and Founder. His wife continues to be listed on the charity’s website.

After the protests, Owen Garrick removed his name as an employee of the charity he created. He runs his business out of the office of this charity, but his business is not listed on the company directory in the lobby of his building.

After the protests, Owen Garrick removed his name as an employee of the charity he created. He runs his business out of the office of this charity, but his business is not listed on the company directory in the lobby of his building.

Perhaps a desire to remain anonymous is what triggered Garrick to nervously pace the lobby of his building as activists, who staged an unannounced protest, informed his neighbors that he signed off on a plan to leave 66 chimps to die on islands with no food or water.

Owen Garrick paced back and forth as activists protested in the lobby

Owen Garrick paced back and forth as activists protested in the lobby during their first protest, which was unannounced in advance.

One day after staging the unannounced protest, a larger group of approximately 20 protesters paid a second visit to Garrick’s place of business. This time, security was prepared and locked the door to the building — a major inconvenience to the hundreds of people who were coming and going during the rainy lunch hour rush.

While some people were angry about getting wet, others were grateful that people were willing to stand in the rain to be a voice for the chimps abandoned by Owen Garrick and his colleagues on the New York Blood Center’s Board of Trustees. Activists plan a third protest in the coming weeks.

During lunch hour, hundreds of people who work in Owen Garrick's building learned that he abandoned chimpanzees with no food or water.

During lunch hour, hundreds of people who work in Owen Garrick’s building learned that he abandoned chimpanzees with no food or water.

After conducting experiments on several hundred chimpanzees for 30 years at a laboratory in Liberia, the NY Blood Center promised to provide the survivors with lifelong care. In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that the blood center decided to walk away from its $25,000 monthly obligation, arguing that the government of Liberia and animal advocacy 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.

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 executives and board members to fulfill their promise to provide lifelong care to their laboratory chimps.

OWEN-GARRICK-POSTER-2


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Leaders Express Outrage Over NY Blood Center’s Decision to Abandon Lab Chimps

June 2, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

After ignoring inquiries from animal advocacy groups for weeks, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) admitted to the NY Times that it abandoned 66 former lab chimps in Liberia, leaving them to starve to death after using them in experiments for three decades: “We never had any obligation for care for the chimps, contractual or otherwise.” The NYBC’s stunning admission has sent shockwaves through great ape conservation and animal protection organizations worldwide.

NYBC has abandoned chimps who they used in experiments in Liberia from 1974 - 2006

NYBC has abandoned chimps who they used in experiments in Liberia from 1974 – 2006

In a public letter to the NYBC, Jane Goodall, the legendary chimpanzee researcher said it’s “completely shocking and unacceptable that NYBC would abandon these chimpanzees,” adding that it has a “moral obligation to continue to care for them for the remainder of their lives.”

Jane Goodall has expressed outrage at the NYBC's decision to abandon their research chimps

Jane Goodall has expressed outrage at the NYBC’s decision to abandon their research chimps (photo: National Geographic)

Betsy Brotman, the head of NYBC’s chimpanzee research program from 1974 – 2006, suggested that her former employer’s effort to shift responsibility to the Liberian government is unethical and deceptive: “We brought those chimps to the Institute and encouraged them to breed. This had nothing to do with the Liberian government.”

Betsy Brotman ran the NY Blood Center's chimp research facility in Liberia

Betsy Brotman ran the NY Blood Center’s chimp research facility in Liberia

Ms. Brotman, who says that NYBC has an obligation to pay for the care of the chimps, is outraged by the organization’s callousness: “This is awful. It’s unspeakably awful.” Primatologist Brian Hare agrees. In an interview with the NY times, Dr Hare, who has studied wild and captive great apes around the world, said he has “never seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this.”

Caretaker feeds New York Blood Center's former lab chimps

Caretaker feeds New York Blood Center’s former lab chimps

Florida Attorney Wally Baldwin, a Board Member of Center for Great Apes, said “When the news broke that the NYBC was abandoning the chimps, I thought they’d say ‘there’s been a misunderstanding’ and reinstate the funding. I was stunned to discover that the news was true.”

Christopher Hillyer, CEO of NYBC who earns over $1.2 million/year, has left chimps to starve to death.

Christopher Hillyer, CEO of NYBC who earns over $1.2 million/year, has left chimps to starve

The NYBC has attributed its decision to cut funding for the chimps to difficult economic times for blood banks. Michael Budkie, the Director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) says that’s a poor excuse: “The NYBC has $400 million in assets; earns $320 million in annual income; and pays its President, Christopher Hillyer, over $1.2 million a year. Do they really expect us to believe that they don’t have the money to provide food and water for these animals?”

Your Turn

Please join the Facebook page New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing and participate in the calls to action.

Call Christopher Hillyer, the President & CEO of the NY Blood Center, and demand that his organization fulfills its obligation and promise to provide lifelong care to the chimpanzees used in their medical experiments: (212) 570-3000.

 


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