News Index > Oct '06- current > November 2006
Covance 2006 - editorial

[East Valley Tribune]

Lab technicians in scrubs and surgical masks remove the small gray monkeys one by one from the dozens of cages lining the laboratory walls inside Covance's Madison, Wis., facility. Their thick black gloves protect them from the cynomolgus macaque monkeys' claws and teeth while waiting their turn at a table where the monkeys are given a drug or chemical being tested.

Some monkeys are fitted with collars that secure them in a boxlike restraint that holds the animals' heads in place. A technician then pries the monkey's mouth open to make way for a syringe full of pink fluid.

Other monkeys are placed in clear plastic tubes — about a foot-and-a-half long and about 4 inches in diameter — to keep them still while technicians make an injection into their legs.

The procedures takes a few minutes before the animals are returned to their cages.

The scene, observed by a Tribune reporter, looks similar to a portion of a video mailed to 23,000 Chandler residents in late September that animal rights groups claim is evidence Covance abuses research animals. The video is part of a campaign to keep the drug-testing company from building a planned facility in Chandler.

The video, along with a year of organized opposition that has included regular protests and letter and e-mail campaigns, has brought a global controversy to Chandler over the company's use of animals for testing.
Opponents haven't given up, however, and have held weekly protests during busy weekends near the Chandler Fashion Center and recently began picketing at a shopping center close to the company's new site.

PETA, a controversial national group and outspoken opponent to the global drug tester, has distributed thousands of videos all over the world showing what it claims are examples of monkeys being abused inside Covance's facility in Vienna, Va.

And another animal-rights group, Washington, D.C.-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, recently mailed portions of the PETA video to Chandler residents with a message from Scottsdale surgeon Deborah Wilson urging them to voice opposition to the company's plans.

Company officials have not yet announced when construction will begin and have not yet applied for any city building permits.
Contact Chris Markham by email, or phone (480) 898-6486

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