Demand That MetLife Hold New York Blood Center Accountable for 67 Abandoned Chimps

  • by: Donny Moss
  • recipient: Steven Kandarian, CEO of MetLife

As the New York Blood Center's (NYBC) largest corporate donor, MetLife has the power to compel the organization to reinstate funding for the 67 chimpanzees who they abandoned with no food or water. 

For a 30 year period starting in the mid-1970s, NYBC conducted experiments on over 400 hundred chimpanzees in Liberia, where they could capture, breed and experiment on them with little regulatory oversight. When the research was complete, NYBC moved the survivors onto six islands in Liberia and one island in The Ivory Coast and made a public commitment to provide them with lifelong care.

In May, 2015, the New York Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding for them,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst. Since then, an HSUS-led coalition of over 30 animal conservation groups has raised funds from the public to pay for the chimps’ care on an emergency basis.

Please sign this petition to ask MetLife, NYBC’s largest and most prominent corporate donor, to exert its influence over NYBC by demanding that the organization provides the funding to pay for the care of the chimps.


Dear Mr. Kandarian:

Since July, 2015, advocates worldwide have contacted MetLife through emails, social media and other petitions to ask the company to be a voice for the 67 chimpanzees abandoned in Liberia and The Ivory Coast by the New York Blood Center (NYBC), an organization to which MetLife gives hundreds of thousands of dollars annually (if not more) and to which you provide retail space in your global headquarters. 

Your silence and complicity surrounding this crisis are disappointing not only because of the public’s exhaustive effort to engage you but also because of MetLife’s public commitment to “corporate responsibility” and “protecting the environment.”

The community is not asking MetLife to rescue the abandoned chimps. Nor are we asking you to contribute financially to the victims’ care, as Citigroup has done. We are merely asking MetLife, NYBC’s largest and most prominent corporate donor, to exert your influence over NYBC on behalf of the 64 survivors for whom the organization promised to provide lifelong care. 

NYBC created the captive chimp populations and is attempting to extricate itself from its ethical obligation to pay for their care by shifting the burden to animal welfare organizations. NYBC has earned an estimated $500 million in royalties off of their chimpanzee research and, unlike animal welfare organizations that did not create this crisis, has the resources to provide the survivors with food and water.

In mid-April a great ape rescue group visited Ponso, the sole survivor of a colony of 20 chimps abandoned by NYBC on an island in The Ivory Coast. Ponso’s female companion and their two children died in a two day period in 2013, leaving him all alone. Germain, a local farmer (pictured below) who brings him food, said that he watched Ponso bury his family by tossing dirt over their graves. Ponso has watched his entire colony of chimpanzees die of sickness and starvation. Now, this intelligent, social animal is alone and struggling to survive — mentally and physically. 

NYBC researchers acquired Ponso when he was a baby and stripped him of his freedom, health and safety. And, when they no longer needed his body, they left him to die. Please do not continue to turn a blind eye to the New York Blood Center's recklessness and abject cruelty. Take action now for the surviving victims. 

Update #58 years ago
The campaign to compel MetLife to demand accountability from the NY Blood Center for abandoning 66 chimps continues. We recently staged a big protest at MetLife on the day of its annual shareholders' meeting. Here's a short video -
In addition to signing this petition, one of the best ways to help the chimps is to use this tweet sheet, which targets MetLife's investors and NY Blood Center's other corporate donors:
Thank you for your continued support!
Update #48 years ago
We are thrilled to report that our chimp protest at the mansion of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian (the target of this petition) was covered in his hometown newspaper. Here's a link to the excellent article: which many of his friends, neighbors, colleagues and employees will see. On Tuesday (5/17), we are staging a protest (with the help of Care2) at the MetLife building in NYC. If you live in the area, please join us. Here are the details:
Update #38 years ago
MetLife has yet to respond to the abandoned chimp crisis, so we've had to escalate our campaign. On 5/10, 15 activists staged a protest in front of the NJ mansion of the CEO Steven Kandarian. We also marched through his town & interacted with hundreds of people, many of whom know him. On 5/17, a larger group will protest at the MetLife building in NYC: We will keep fighting until MetLife holds the NY Blood Center accountable. Plz join the fight here:
Update #28 years ago
We already have over 114K signatures. On behalf of the chimps, thank you! MetLife simply cannot continue to ignore the thousands of people who have contacted them through this petition, email, and social media. Here's another very easy way to help. If you have a Twitter account, please use this tweet sheet to contact MetLife and its investors - along with other NY Blood Center donors. We know from feedback from other NY Blood Center donors that the tweets make a difference:
Update #18 years ago
We - and the chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center - will not be ignored. Because MetLife has refused to engage with us about the crisis, 20 activists in NYC occupied the company's lobby for 30 minutes during rush hour. Here's a short video of the extraordinary disruption, which has already been shared over 1,000 times on Facebook. Please watch & share: - Also, if you're on Twitter, please use this tweet sheet to contact MetLife and its investors:
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