By Ernie Fritz

About 20 protesters, armed with placards and whistles, gathered outside the home of NY Blood Center (NYBC) board member Michael Hodin on West 86th street near Broadway on Tuesday night, demanding that the organization live up to a supposed commitment to take care of research chimpanzees used by the organization, that they say were instead abandoned on six mangrove islands off the coast of Liberia and left to die.

The protestors say that this is about the 20th time that they have picketed in front of this particular board member’s home in the last six months.  Their hope is for the NYBC to reinstate funding for the care of the chimps which they estimate is about $30,000 a month.

The New York Times covered the issue last year.


NEWS | 58 comments | permalink
    1. Carla says:

      What the NY Blood Bank has done is pretty despicable. It seems that these protests aren’t having much effect if this is the sixth time, but this gentlmman and his colleagues on the board should be very much ashamed of themselves.

    2. Erica says:

      Work place one thing, home another. So inappropriate.

      • Chuck D says:

        Gotta disagree with the “inappropriateness” comment. Shame is a huge motivator, and this guy seems to have really gone back on his word.

      • R. R. says:

        Inappropriate? What chutzpah! What is inappropriate is making moola from imprisoning sentient animals and using them for medical research by god only knows doing what to them. The whole thing makes me want to vomit. People making livings off of this make me sick.

      • Tess says:

        Inappropriate is leaving animals that you’ve used and abused in labs, to starve to death once you’re not using them any more.

      • donna commey says:

        It is very appropriate!! This man is despicable!!

      • Matt says:

        “Inappropriate”? Indeed, how dare we be outraged that innocent lives are tortured and left to starve to death! Oh no, mustn’t offend the pearl-clutchers.

    3. Siddhartha says:

      I didn’t know about this. I’m glad they’re keeping him to his word.

    4. whatsupduck says:

      Are any tenants of this building also readers of WSR? I’d be curious to know how they feel about their neighbor, the protest, etc.

    5. ann says:

      Animal research should be abandoned, period.

      • Finnegan says:

        Remember that statement the next time you get a flu shot, take an antibiotic, pop an advil, etc. Without animals to test our scientific advances on, we would be back in the stone age.

        Although maybe a “population correction” would help save the planet…

        • Larry T says:

          Eliminating animal testing means increasing effort needed to make some types of drugs approvable, but in the larger picture it wouldn’t make that much difference, all drugs end up being tested on humans anyway. Cellular and gene testing is becoming more effective and can lower costs. We don’t test humans against their will, nor do we give them higher and higher doses until we know toxic dose. Why should animals not receive the same consideration? They are not here just for our benefit.

          • Independent says:

            We don’t test humans against their will, nor do we give them higher and higher doses until we know toxic dose. Why should animals not receive the same consideration?

            A most revealing question.

            Are you a total vegan?

            • Finnegan says:

              It’s Darwinism as its finest, as we strive to keep the human race one step (or many steps) ahead of the curve, we use our intelligence to produce medicine that will further our species. While it’s an inconvenient truth, it is true.

              Animals provide a medium in which to reduce human casualties in the medical field. This is primal survival instinct in the 21st century.

        • Tess says:

          Animal testing has often given false data, because animal physiology is different from humans.

          But the more important thing is, once you’ve taken ownership of animals to use for your own purposes, you have a moral and ethical obligation to care for those animals as long as they are alive.

          • Independent says:

            Many would consider it acceptable to simply euthanize the animals at the end of their useful service.

    6. Madelyn says:

      All we’ll and good to be concerned for the chimpanzees, but the demonstrators are loud and noisy and disruptive to the neighborhood. The demonstration goes on past 11pm and can be heard blocks away. There is no thought or consideration on how this is so very disruptive to those living nearby.

      • Bob says:

        Waaaaaaa waaaaaaaa!!! The protestors are inconveniencing me!!!! I might have to, I dunno, do something.

        • Penelope says:

          These protesters are very loud and yell, beat drums and blow whistles well past bedtime for my two young children. I understand the need to protest a cause you believe in, but what about the young children who are scared by the loud noises and too young to understand why these people are protesting?? It’s fine if it’s every now and then but it’s almost every Tuesday that these protesters congregate and yell between 7:30/8PM to 10/11PM.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            too young to understand? if they are old enough to be “scared” then they are old enough for you to explain to them what is going on, why people are doing this, and why it is no danger to them.

            Why, you might even want to take them out to look at the protest!!

            • Finnegan says:

              That’s just nonsense, a 1 year old would definitely be scared of this type of noise, should they be a part of this protest?

              Sounds like you have not been a parent…

            • Bill says:

              Thanks Bruce, Sure sounds like a teachable moment to me, Please come and join the protests.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              Thanks Bill!

              Finnegan, you’re telling me that a one year old living in NYC would be traumatized by some people down the block chanting?

              it sounds like you really need a gated community.

            • Finnegan says:

              I said scared, not traumatized. It would be difficult to educate a 1 year old about what a protest is Bruce.

              My comments have nothing to do with my requirement to live in a gated community, or did I say that the protestors didn’t have a right to be there. I just found it laughable that you think a one year old has the cognitive abilities to “learn” from this experience.

      • Donald says:

        This is not true. The protests end at 10:00 p.m. sharp in accordance with the law.

      • Tess says:

        At least you were not left to starve to death, as were the chimps. You can thank the NY Blood Center for the disruptions. All they have to do is live up to their responsibilities.

    7. Rodger Lodger says:

      Quick nostalgia quiz for old-timers and radio fans: Who said “monkeys is the cwaziest people”?
      This was a national catchline for a time.

    8. Steven says:

      @Madelyne kind of the point of a protest.

    9. JeffS. says:

      It seems to me the only ethical thing to do after using these chimps for research purposes, and keeping them from the wild, is to protect them throughout their natural lives. According to Steven J. Gould, chimps differ from humans by a mere five twists of DNA. In the hierarchy of intelligence, they are second to human beings – our genetic cousins, and have to be accorded empathy and support. The NY Blood Bank has abandoned its moral responsibility to provide that support. They should reverse themselves and protect the creatures from whom they gleaned the knowledge required to safeguard and protect human beings in need of blood transfusion.

    10. Mark says:

      They’re supposed to disrupt the status quo, that’s the point of a protest. Like when tens of thousands stopped traffic to remind New Yorkers of the murder of Eric Garner by the NYPD.

      • CJ says:

        I would be furious if this person lived in my building. The protests are loud – and I live around the block on WEA at 87th. Like any other problem neighbor, I wonder how the co-op board is dealing with this nuisance. He should be ashamed of himself and his agency’s actions — and — hopefully the protesters (and angry neighbors?) don’t let up until he takes care of the abused and abandoned chimps. Love is love is love is love. All lives matter.

        • Bill says:

          Thx CJ. I am a protestor. Many of Mr. Holdiin’s neighbors support the chimps. If the noise is a concern, contact NY Blood Ctr and let them know it is their actions that are causing the discomfort.

    11. Ruthie says:

      Good for them!

    12. LMGKELLY says:

      The New York Blood Center needs to reverse their heartless, immoral decision and fund for the care and feeding of these chimps for the remainder of their lives. We have a moral obligation to do the right thing, especially when we know our actions are harming others. If the neighbors don’t like the noise, then let Hodin AND the NY Blood Center know!!

    13. Donald says:

      I am one of the protesters. When the NY Times broke the story that the NY Blood Center abandoned 66 of its former lab chimps with no food or water after capturing them in the jungle, experimenting on them for 30 years, and earning an estimated $500 million in royalties off of the research, we contacted Michael Hodin politely in an attempt to open a dialog about the crisis. When that didn’t work, we protested during daylight hours for months and months. Still, Michael Hodin refused to feed the chimps or engage with the community. He has therefore left us with no choice but to come back at night. While we are disappointed that so many people in the neighborhood are more angry about occasional noise than the shocking abandonment of 66 chimps, we are hopeful that some will contact Hodin and the NY Blood Center to encourage them to fulfill their public promise to provide food and water for the chimps. Starvation is painful, and the emergency funds donated by the public will soon run dry…

      • Cat@lynn says:

        I appreciate what you’re doing but I’m confused about the timeline. Weren’t the chimps abandoned in March of last year? Are you saying that they’ve been living in the wild since then and haven’t had access to (enough) food and water? Is there no one in Libya helping them?

        • Donald says:

          When the NY Blood Center cut funding to the chimps and to the Liberians who were feeding them (every other day), the Humane Society created a GoFundMe campaign to raise emergency funds so that the chimps wouldn’t starve to death. Members of the public (and Citigroup) have donated about $300,000. Collecting money from the public is not a sustainable solution. The Blood Center, which has earned an estimated $500 million in royalties off of the research, needs to reverse its decision to cut the funding and fulfill its public promise to provide lifelong care to the survivors of its experiments.

          • Cat@lynn says:

            Donald, thank you so much for the detailed and informative reply! I’ll make every attempt to follow this issue more closely now.

      • Cat@lynn says:

        Sorry typing too fast…Liberia, not Libya. :/

      • anon says:

        so you’re saying the chimps’ comfort is more important than the local residents’ comfort? Interesting. Both groups did nothing to deserve the treatment they’re getting. 10pm is LATE for a 5-12 year old to go to sleep. Have some compassion for the neighbors – they can’t do anything about your animals.

        • ST says:

          Yes because you weren’t caged, experimented upon and left to starve. You compare apples to torture.

      • the_the says:

        Bravo to you.
        I for one will stop donating blood at NYBC collection points.

      • Matt says:

        Thank you! I wish I knew about this sooner. It’s now on my radar. I will join in future protests.

        • UWS Resident says:

          I would also like to know about future protests. Is there a Facebook group or something? Bravo to any person who stands up for the rights for those who cannot speak for themselves. These highly intelligent animals were used and dumped–I signed petitions online months ago, and am glad that there are people who are not allowing this kind of cruelty to go away without a fight–BRAVO!!

          • Donald says:

            The online home for this campaign is the Facebook page: New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing. You will get updates about the abandoned chimps and the public effort to help them.

    14. Michael says:

      @Erica what’s inappropriate is murdering 66 sentient intelligent beings.

      • dannyboy says:

        @Michael, Helpful Hint: When replying to Erica in Thread #2, just click the “Reply” and your Comment will appear below hers. Also, I agree with your Reply.

    15. Carol Marcus says:

      The New York Blood Center needs to step up and take a little portion of those millions that were made on the backs of these surviving chimps and pay for their lifelong care as they had promised, after experimenting on them for more than 30 years. Truly despicable!!

    16. Jane says:

      There wouldn’t have to BE any protests if the NY Blood Bank had stepped up and done the right thing from the beginning. So keep it up!

      And why not be there in the morning as well, if possible, when Mr. Hodin is going to work. Any children witnessing the protest can have everything explained to them, too!

    17. Barbara wood says:

      Big misconception that we still need to use animals in testing. Computer models have been in use for several years and nearly all the universities have banned the practice. I may be incorrect here but I believe the EU
      Has made the practice illegal on moral grounds.
      The thing is this ‘non profit’ the Nyc blood center needs to do the right thing by the chimps whose use the profited from big time for 30 years! Arrogance starts at the top. I feel badly for the chimps but even more so for
      A corporate leader and his board who lack any interest
      In doing the right thing

    18. Athena says:

      Completely despicable what the New York Blood Center has done! The board members and all involved must be held accountable – by whatever means necessary. Keep the heat on them all. It is about time that our society realize that other animals are not our property to use and abuse as we wish – Shame on you NYBC.

    19. Money talks says:

      The better approach is to shame other companies into discontinuing to do business with New York Blood Center. Firms only respond when the bottom line is threatened. And what about every member of the board—they are equally responsible. Finally do not donate blood to them!! Go to the Red Cross.

      • Donald says:

        Citigroup, a former NYBC donor, issued a public statement asserting that the “situation is not tolerable” and made a $50,000 donation to the Humane Society, which is paying for the care of the chimps on an emergency basis until the NYBC board members and executives reinstate the promised funding for the chimps. MetLife is the Blood Center’s largest corporate donor and partner, and the company has refused to speak out about the crisis.

      • Bill says:

        Thx MT. That is why MetLife is culpable here, with millions of their dollars going to NYBC. I own two shares of MetLife stock and will be attending the shareholders meeting next year. My company needs to do better.

    20. Gabrielle says:

      How Metlife used and abused these chimpanzees fir over 3 decades and then dropped them off like they were cargo on an island off the coast of Liberia without any food or water is absolutely dispicable! Who in the right mind does such a thing and sleeps at night? This is a disgraceful and uncompassionate act towards animals. If only they had a voice…imagine what they would say… Do the right thing Metlife and take care of your chimpanzees!

    21. RedRaleigh says:

      There was a time when this was referred to as “disturbing the peace”. In a town that is known for its loudness, evening quiet is cherished by some residents. It seems to me there might be more effective legal ways to deal with this, rather than whistles and drum banging.