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 Mar. 6, 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 US 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.