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Fresh start for Liberian Chimpanzees used for medical tests

Dec 29, 2015 According to U.S. conservationist Jenny Desmond, 66 former lab chimpanzees at the New York Blood Center, are currently enjoying a breath of fresh air in Liberia.

Although the animals are healthy, their story is far from amusing. The chimpanzees, for years, were used for medical experiments.  When the experiments ended, they were left without food.

Commenting on the situation, Desmond said:

“Chimpanzees don’t do well in research; they’re very similar to humans as we know. So they were kept in very small cages, crowded environment, they were… I believe they were weekly anesthetized for… to take blood samples or to infect them with hepatitis b and c and test their blood. They did many liver biopsies,”

The New York Blood Center responded to this on its website saying it conducted the tests on the chimps more than a decade ago in a bid to develop a low-cost vaccine for Hepatitis B.

However, the incidence has raised uncomfortable questions about human responsibility for animals once medical experiments are finished.

When the predicament of the chimps was made public, the Humane Society, a U.S. animal welfare organization, stepped in and raised over 200,000 U.S. dollars for the cause.

Commenting on the recorded improvement, Desmond said:

“To me the most remarkable experience has been seeing the transformation of the chimpanzees. From the first day when we went out with the boat. When they were still being fed every other day, they were still quite fearful. When we approached the island they would all come running. You would see every chimp running. They came out in to the water, up to the boat, even trying to grab things out of the boat, begging for food, crying and screaming,”

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