Blood Center Has No Heart

By on May 29, 2015 with 36 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

EDITOR’S NOTE: GOOD NEWS! The HSUS and the New York Blood Center have announced an agreement to provide long-term sanctuary for the Liberian chimpanzees. READ THE UPDATE »

The New York Blood Center has abandoned a colony of 66 chimps in Liberia that its research teams used in experiments for three decades, reports James Gorman of the New York Times in a story today. The burden of their survival and care has now been foisted on The HSUS and other caring groups and individuals who are picking up the pieces in a distant and beleaguered nation gripped in recent months by the Ebola crisis. It is a story of past exploitation and present-day heartlessness by a well-funded charity with ample resources to handle a responsibility it created and cannot now abandon.

Since the Blood Center cut off funds on March 6th, The HSUS and the Arcus Foundation have been providing support to keep the chimps alive. Dozens of volunteers in Liberia and neighboring countries have answered the call, putting their lives at risk to help the chimps.

The crisis began a few months ago when a former chimpanzee caregiver sounded the alarm: the Blood Center was terminating all funding for the care of the chimps it used for decades in medical research for its financial benefit. A team of U.S. researchers on the ground in Liberia helping humans during the Ebola crisis stepped in to make sure that the chimpanzees, including several infants, didn’t die from dehydration or starvation. The HSUS was alerted in mid-March and has been working since with a small group of dedicated individuals to respond. The HSUS, along with Humane Society International, has sent emergency funding to pay for food and water for the animals who live on six islands and are entirely dependent on human care.

There is a long history behind these individuals who have endured so much. In the mid-1970’s, the Blood Center captured some of them from the wild, obtained others from pet owners, and set out to use them for research involving the hepatitis B vaccine and blood cleansing, among other topics. These hapless creatures have also endured and survived protracted civil war in the country—going weeks at a time without food or water. Many died from dehydration and starvation or were killed by rogue militias. Time after time caregivers risked their lives to go out to the islands to feed the chimpanzees, at times attracting fire from the militant bands.

So, this story is not just about the chimpanzees, but also about the caregivers who have sacrificed so much and have been volunteering to take care of the animals since the Blood Center left them in peril. It is simply shocking that the Blood Center chose to deliver this blow during the largest Ebola outbreak in history, a calamity from which the government of Liberia is reeling – adding a burden to a nation strapped with a human crisis of immense proportions.

The Blood Center previously committed itself to the lifetime care of these chimpanzees, its officials publicly announcing their ethical responsibility to do so and indicating the start of an endowment for this purpose a decade ago. Officials there are now repudiating this commitment, stating heartlessly that the organization “never had any obligation for care for the chimps, contractual or otherwise.”

The HSUS hired Agnes Souchal, an expert from the Sanaga-Yong chimpanzee sanctuary in Cameroon, to conduct an assessment on the ground. Agnes worked with the caregivers over two weeks, including to repair the water system for five of the six islands. Prior to this repair, chimpanzees were handed cups of water by the caregivers every other day. She implemented changes in their diet, introducing the animals to new foods for the first time, documented on this video. There are plans underway to increase feedings to at least once a day, including arrangements for purchase of a boat engine to do so.

We are so thankful that the Arcus Foundation has committed emergency funding to help—Arcus has been a key player in stepping in whenever and wherever great apes are in peril. But we need everyone’s help to make these changes. Please let New York Blood Center officials know that they need to make a financial obligation to secure the chimpanzees’ future. I will continue to update my readers as this real-time drama unfolds.

P. S. I’m delighted to announce that hundreds of compassionate people like you have already stepped up to provide for these chimps’ immediate needs – please join them by donating here.

Animal Research and Testing, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Alison Macpherson says:

    please release them

  2. Kaye Mccall says:

    Honor your commitments!!!You used and abused these poor beings, so, you need to care for them forever.

    • D. Weiler says:

      I agree with Kaye McCall! Surely the blood center can do better than to abandon these chimps. It’s owed to them to be taken care of forever!

      • debbie says:

        Kaye McCall said it right…Do the right thing and take care of these poor animals after what you have done to them.

  3. Rita Collins says:

    Regardless of contractual obligations, there is an obvious ethical obligation that is being ignored by the Blood Center.

  4. Belinda Goodpasture says:

    Please free these babies

  5. Lisa Purdy says:

    Please remember your promise to help these Chimpanzees who helped you with monetary gain through their suffering. Do not lie or refute what you stated. They deserve to live the rest of their lives in a humane kind environment.

  6. Beverlee Larsson says:

    Taking care of these chimps for their entire life should be the price they pay for three decades of their service. It’s the least they should do.

  7. Dawn Boughton says:

    I would like more info on the NY Blood Company and who they work with, or who they provide services to. I would like to boycott anyone using them as a service until they do right by these chimps. More research should be done into them, as if they are so heartless to do something like this you can be sure they are abusing more animals everywhere else in their testing. Lets close them down.

  8. Betsy Sanders says:

    Honor your commitment to these innocent chimps who were forced to endure your abuse so that you could line your pockets with money. You are the very definition of “the love of money is the root of all evil”

  9. cindy says:

    Beware all!!! treat them with respect and be HUMANE!!! All LIVING THINGS!!!

  10. J L says:

    We should contact Christopher Hillyer, the 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: (212) 570-3000.

  11. Ladora Urban says:

    This could make you me change my mind about donating

  12. laveda says:

    Honor Gods creatures.
    This will come back on you if you don’t..

  13. Virginia Calabree says:

    You have an obligation to take care of these animals. You used & abused them so now is the time to give back. You are cruel to just release them when they are use to human help.

  14. Simone cathron says:

    Your responsibility so take care of them, GOD bless those who do help. …Simone

  15. Lisa Crow says:

    Honor your commitment and restart the funding.

  16. o flaschner says:

    Not much different than large companies laying off people who have worked 20 years plus.
    Christopher Hillyer, the President & CEO of the New York Blood Center, has a responsibility to these animals. Whether the N.Y. Blood Center steps up to the plate……… anyone guess.

  17. Nancy parker says:

    I have no words for the inhumanity of your abandonment of these victims of yours. Do the right thing and resume funding.

  18. Melanie Shaffer says:

    These poor animals were abused and used for God knows what kind of experiments…probably not very pleasant ones at that and now you just leave them without any support? Shame on you!!! You OWE these wonderful creatures anything and everything they need to live the rest of their days happy and not wanting for anything…it’s just the right thing to do!!! Please honor your promise and do what’s right!

  19. Sono Arima says:

    Keep your word and commitment. It is one immoral thing to use other species for research robbing them of their natural life, subjecting them to pain and loss of freedom. It is also another thing to back down from your commitment and moral responsibility to these primates to care for them the rest of their natural lives, What was taken and deprived from them can never really be repaid, but the guarantee of living a safe and somewhat natural life is your responsibility. The eyes of the Nation are upon you, I trust you will do the decent, right, moral and just thing and keep your commitment of responsibility to these creatures or earthmates that served to improve human lives without their permission and I am sure against their wills.

  20. teresa bonelli says:

    Urgente tienen que llevarlos a un santuario.

  21. Donna Lysinger says:

    Why don’t the law get after the New York Blood center & fine them for this. Also the chimp’s should not be used for lab study’s in the Middle East for research or any where, they should also be fined & ban the chimp’s & any animal from lab research.

  22. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto says:

    The only answer is the releace of wild mammals animals

  23. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto says:

    In the modern world the animals wild natural world is a hostile place for all natural wildife and ensure their preservation in parallet with the development of local communities help save the Chimpanzees

  24. Sara-Patricia Mason says:

    New York Blood Center:
    You promised to care for them for life. You have failed to keep your word. If this indicates the level of your integrity, then how you perform your work is also in question. The chimps can’t trust you and neither can the public. It may take a while, but it will come back to bite you. I urge you to be responsible for your promises.

  25. Evelyn Lennon says:

    Chimpanzees were created to live in an environment that is free from all the intervention of such crule conditions. We are their voice, we must be intervien to help them live a full life and be in an environment where they feel at home. The trees, the vegitation, fresh air, the rain, and most of all, the bonding that they need to feel secure, and to feel free. I wish all of this for them, and those who come after them.

  26. Melicia says:

    This is absolutely the most horrible and atrocious sight. Where is the responsibility to protect the endangered species.

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