Name: Urge New York Blood Center to Take
Responsibility for the Care of Its Abandoned Chimpanzees in Liberia
Last year the public heard about the
abandonment of more than 60 chimps used for research in Liberia by the New York
Blood Center (NYBC). The chimps, who were retired from the NYBC’s labs a decade
ago, saw all of the funding for their “lifetime” of care withdrawn in March
2015, according to a disturbing report in the New
York Times. These chimpanzees
were essentially abandoned, left to starve on islands off the coast of Liberia
as their caretakers were without resources to provide food and water and
without reliable transportation to reach the islands to bring supplies.
While volunteer caretakers stepped up to
provide for the chimps, the animals were facing starvation, dehydration and an
uncertain future. A coalition of animal groups, including NAVS, stepped up to
provide for the needs of the 60 chimpanzees, allowing for the resumption of daily
food and water deliveries, along with repair of the boat used for delivery of
Pleas to NYBC to contribute towards the care
of the chimpanzees were made in vain. Though the animal protection community continues
to meet the immediate needs of this community of chimpanzees, it is ultimately
the responsibility of NYBC to provide for their care.
On August 31, 2016, after months of
confidential negotiations with the New York Blood Center, the Humane Society of
the United States, which had been speaking directly with NYBC on behalf of the
coalition, announced that it had ended its talks with NYBC. Despite the
prolonged negotiations, NYBC’s final offer of assistance would have provided a
scant 2% of the projected funds needed for the lifetime care of the
chimpanzees. The coalition of animal groups supporting the care of these
animals were hoping that non-confrontational talks would accomplish what public
demands could not—an acknowledgement by NYBC that they should accept financial
responsibility for the care of the chimpanzees it once used for its research.
However, an encouraging development came on
the heels of these failed negotiations. MetLife, a major NYBC donor that has
been urging the company to reach an agreement with HSUS, announced that it
“will not consider future financial support until a solution is found” to the
long-term care of these chimpanzees. It is hoped that other major supporters
will join MetLife in strongly urging NYBC to meet their responsibilities—or
risk losing their financial backing its blood-related research.
Until additional pressure is exerted by
corporate supporters, it is time to step up efforts by individuals to demand
that NYBC take financial responsibility for a colony of chimpanzees that exists
solely because of their research.
Call to Actions:
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Give Financial Support to Care for Chimpanzees Used and Abandoned by NYBC
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am writing to ask that the New York Blood Center step up and accept responsibility for the care of animals captured, bred and kept for research for NYBC in Liberia.When NYBC began its research using chimpanzees in Liberia around 30 years ago, it was with the understanding that chimpanzees can have a long lifespan and the Liberian government was neither stable nor wealthy. So when the research ended a decade ago, NYBC already knew they could not ethically walk away from the care of these chimpanzees while assuming that adequate care would be provided.As the Liberian government was neither willing nor able to take on the responsibility of caring for these animals when funding from NYBC withdrew its financial support in 2015, NYBC knew that it had a responsibility to ensure that these 60+ chimps were not left to starve to death as a consequence.While volunteer caretakers stepped up to provide for the chimps, the animals were facing starvation, dehydration and an uncertain future. A coalition of animal protection groups stepped up to provide for the needs of these chimpanzees, providing daily food and water.But the care of these chimpanzees is not the responsibility of animal protection groups, nor is it the responsibility of the general public. Responsibility lies with NYBC to contribute substantially, if not exclusively, towards the care of the chimpanzees. I am asking you to please accept this responsibility for animals you used for research and resume providing for their lifetime care as you did for many years until 2015.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]