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Outcry Grows: NY Blood Center “Abandoning” Research Chimps

PHOTO: More than 125,000 people have signed a change.org petition demanding the New York Blood Center restore funding to care for 66 of its former research chimps who advocates say were abandoned by the nonprofit organization. Photo credit - Agnes Souchal for the HSUS.
PHOTO: More than 125,000 people have signed a change.org petition demanding the New York Blood Center restore funding to care for 66 of its former research chimps who advocates say were abandoned by the nonprofit organization. Photo credit - Agnes Souchal for the HSUS.
June 15, 2015

NEW YORK – It's a nonprofit organization that New Yorkers normally associate with helping people, but the outcry is growing against the New York Blood Center for allegedly abandoning 66 of its former research chimpanzees.

Anthropologist Brian Hare, an assistant professor at Duke University, says the NYBC made plenty of money from experiments conducted on the chimps in Liberia.

He has started a petition drive on change.org that now has more than 125,000 people calling on the Blood Center to reinstate promised funding for lifetime care for the chimps.

"They've made over $400 million in profits off of the patents that the chimpanzees were involved in,” Hare points out. “And they just left them to die, literally to starve or dehydrate."

The New York Blood Center reportedly stopped funding the chimps' care in March. The NYBC did not respond to our request for comment.

Hare says the chimps' care costs a little over $300,000 a year, while the Blood Center's income equals about a quarter of the gross national product of Liberia.

Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues with The Humane Society of the United States, says the 66 former research chimpanzees are scattered on six different, Liberian islands.

"They have to have food taken out to them by boat,” she says. “Thankfully, a number of organizations have stepped up and people have been donating to the cause and we've gotten them to the point where they are getting fresh water, and we're making other improvements to their care."

Hare says he has never seen a major organization simply leave its former research subjects to die.

"I think, they're kidding themselves if they think this is a problem that is going to go away,” he says. “Chimpanzees live for decades, and we'll have plenty of opportunities to remind everyone again and again, what they've done here, if they fail to do the right thing and be part of a positive solution."

The cause is active on social media with both the petition drive and a Go-Fund-Me campaign to provide temporary support for the chimps.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY