Animals

Victory for Chimpanzees Retired from Medical Research

Pulin Modi
Jun 9, 2017

On May 30, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and New York Blood Center (NYBC) settled a contentious campaign over the care of chimpanzees used for animal tests. NYBC committed to provide $6 million in funding for the permanent care of the chimpanzees who live in Liberia.

It’s always important to see what leads to campaign victories so we can learn about how to run more effective campaigns. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons this was successful.

Over the course of the two-year campaign, HSUS supporter and Duke University professor Dr. Brian Hare gathered more than 200,000 signatures on his Change.org petition asking New York Blood Center to provide lifetime care for the chimpanzees they used for medical research.

In addition to the initial petition by Dr. Hare, effective tactics included:

  • Celebrity and influencer engagement from Dr. Jane Goodall, Kate and Rooney Mara, and others.
  • International support coordinated by HSUS including a care team on the ground to provide care for the chimpanzees.
  • Petitions directed at leadership and partners like MetLife to provide pressure on a secondary level of people and institutions in power.
  • Crowdfunding donations to cover costs of care for the chimpanzees while the campaign continued.
  • Media coverage to inform the public about what was happening and why this issue was important.
  • Relentless local activism in New York pressuring board members and partners which made the NYBC brand toxic.

In Dr. Hare’s victory announcement he says when his Change.org petition was launched, “the chimpanzees were in danger of dying from dehydration and starvation. They had neither access to water nor food. Thanks to a caring Ebola researcher on the ground, we coordinated an emergency response.” Now, thanks to a global movement by concerned members of the public, the chimpanzees will be able to live our their lives with the care animal advocates have been asking for all along.

It’s inspiring to know that a professor in North Carolina can use free digital campaign resources to do his part to protect chimpanzees in Liberia. From a local to global scale, Change.org is committed to being a platform for anyone, anywhere to campaign for the changes they wish to see in the world. If you’d like to support this mission, please become a member.

Pulin Modi is a senior campaigner at Change.org