Groups call on NY Blood Center to support chimpanzees

The Humane Society of the United States is raising money for the continued care of chimpanzees once used for research.

In 1974, the New York Blood Center began studying the chimps for bio-medical research aimed at keeping donated blood free of disease. This research stopped 10 years ago.

The center kept paying for the chimps' care, which is about $30,000 a month. In March, the New York Blood Center stopped funding for the animals, which belong to Liberia.

"NYBC's support of the chimpanzees was entirely voluntary, offered on a philanthropic basis until the Government of Liberia could take over," the Blood Center said in a statement.

Animal welfare groups believe the New York Blood Center has an ethical responsibility to continue to care for the animals.

Kathleen Conlee, vice president for animal research at the Humane Society of the United States, called on the Blood Center to step in and help.

The Humane Society and other animal rights activists dropped off boxes containing nearly 200,000 signatures outside the front door of the New York Blood Center on the Upper East Side. The petitions urge the blood center to re-consider supporting the chimpanzees.