Dr. Goodall's Statement on Abandoned New York Blood Center Chimps
I am extremely disappointed to learn that the New York Blood Center has ignored requests by dozens of animal protection groups and thousands of individuals to renew their support for the 66 chimpanzees they have abandoned at the Vilab II sanctuary in Liberia. Instead, in a recent statement, they deny all responsibility for the care of these former research chimpanzees, stating that they are owned by the Liberian government. This seems irrelevant since NYBC was responsible for funding the acquisition of these chimpanzees, some of whom were taken from the wild after shooting their mothers. NYBC then profited from their use in their vaccine research, yet instead of accepting their responsibility for them, NYBC claims that their support of the chimpanzees has always been voluntary and that they have no obligation to them. Rather than enter into a dialogue with the wide and committed chimpanzee welfare and conservation community to find a long term solution for their care, NYBC simply decided to cut off all funding.
Chimpanzees are an incredibly intelligent, social species and they are endangered across their entire range in Africa. How ironic that while worldwide support for ending the exploitation of chimpanzees in research and other forms of human gain, and efforts to protect their populations in the wild are increasing, New York Blood Center has simply cast these poor individuals aside.
Since I published an open letter to the New York Blood Center on May 29, they have taken no new measures to ensure the survival of these chimpanzees who live trapped on islands without any source of fresh water or food. Thus they are forced to rely on human caretakers to provide for their basic needs. When this drastic situation became known, The Humane Society of the United States, supported by a coalition of more than 30 animal protection groups and individuals (including the Jane Goodall Institute), stepped in to provide care for the abandoned chimpanzees who would otherwise, almost certainly, have died of dehydration and starvation after NYBC pulled out in March.
But although this coalition has raised temporary funds to address the immediate crisis this cannot be relied upon to provide help forever. Indeed, it should not be. I am urging New York Blood Center to renew their support of these chimpanzees, and join those of us who are working to secure long-term care and provide for their welfare in perpetuity.
Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE
Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute &
UN Messenger of Peace
the Jane Goodall Institute-USA Headquarters
1595 Spring Hill Road | Suite 550 | Vienna, VA 22182
Phone 703.682.9283 | Fax 703.682.9312