The Real Deal New York

Primate advocates go to Park Avenue to take on Milstein

Activists accuse landlord of abandoning 66 chimps used in research at NY Blood Center

July 16, 2015 03:50PM
By Rey Mashayekhi

From left: Howard Milstein, 888 Park Avenue and a chimpanzee

From left: Howard Milstein, 888 Park Avenue and a chimpanzee

UPDATED, 6:02 p.m., July 16: Landlord Howard Milstein will be the target of an animal rights protest outside his Upper East Side home today, with activists upset at the New York Blood Center chair’s involvement in the organization’s controversial treatment of African chimpanzees.

Protesters are gathering Thursday afternoon at Milstein’s home, at 888 Park Avenue, to voice grievances over the New York Blood Center’s decision earlier this year  to cut off funding for 66 chimps used for research at its former biomedical facility in Liberia.

While the organization closed the African facility 10 years ago and had been funding the chimps’ care since, it decided to cut off funding this year – a decision criticized by the Humane Society of the United States and renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.

In a statement from New York Blood Center, a spokesperson said: “NYBC does not own the animals in question, and never did. The animals are owned by the Liberian government, and their officials have repeatedly acknowledged that they have responsibility for the care of the chimpanzees — most recently in legal documents filed in March of this year.”

Donny Moss, who runs the animal rights website Their Turn and organized the protest at Milstein’s home, said the action is one of several planned targeting New York Blood Center board members, executives and donors.

“Howard Milstein is chairman of the [New York Blood Center] board of trustees, and I wonder how he sleeps at night,” Moss said. “They literally made a decision to change their mind and leave these chimps with no food and water.”

Moss added that future protests will target New York Blood Center donors like MetLife and Cipriani 42nd Street, where the New York Blood Center is holding its fall gala. Milstein did not respond to requests for comment, nor did representatives for the center.

This isn’t the first time activists have targeted Milstein’s home; 888 Park Avenue was also the site of an Occupy Wall Street protest in 2011.