New York Blood Center Leaves Chimps to Die of Starvation

Chimpanzees in Liberian lab are abandoned and left to starve in retirement

Posted May 29, 2015

“Never, ever have I seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this” 

Yes, you can believe your eyes and feel your heart break. It's a fact that a colony of 66 chimpanzees in a Liberian laboratory are being abandoned by the New York Blood Center. As a result, their fate is left to chance and it's not a good situation at all. In an essay in the New York Times by James Gorman, Dr. Brian Hare, an anthropologist and primatologist at Duke University notes, “Never, ever have I seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this.” Some of the chimpanzees were captured from the wild, and many were used in invasive medical research for decades and suffered during the country's civil war when they would go weeks without food and water and lost many of their companions.

Needless to say, this is an extremely messy and disturbing situation and numerous people around the world are deeply concerned about the fate of these intelligent and sentient beings. Indeed, the New York Blood Center, an organization with hundreds of millions in assets and with rapidly increasing revenue over the last two years, essentially exploited these chimpanzees for decades for their own profits and has abandoned them by terminating its $30,000/month funding to feed and care for the chimpanzees who are living on secluded islands near the country’s capital, Monrovia.

Kathleen Conlee, vice president for animal research at the Humane Society of the United States, notes, “Our long-term goal is to provide these chimpanzees with true sanctuary,” and "at least 16 other animal welfare groups are also calling on the center to reinstate funding." Ms. Conlee also said, “You cannot just use chimps like this and just abandon them and get away with it.” Amen.

You can read more about this horrific situation in essays called "New York Blood Center Abandons Over 60 Chimps, Leaving Them To Die of Starvation" and "These Chimps Helped Us Find a Hepatitis Vaccine. Now They've Been Left to Die" and a press kit can be found here. Petitions to save these awesome beings can be found here and here

You can also contact Christopher Hillyer, President & CEO of the New York Blood Center, and demand that his organization fulfills its obligation and promise to provide lifelong care to the chimpanzees used in their medical experiments: (800) 933-2566. You can also email them here

Please take the time to protest this horrific situation. The chimpanzees really need your help right now and you can make a difference!

Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservationWhy dogs hump and bees get depressed, and Rewilding our hearts: Building pathways of compassion and coexistenceThe Jane effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson) has recently been published. (marcbekoff.com; @MarcBekoff)