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The Physicians Committee

What Killed Covance?
May 11, 2012

Covance has raised the ire of doctors and animal advocates for its animal tests. And after just three years and ongoing scrutiny, it has been forced to close down its contentious facility in Chandler, Ariz. The company also scuttled plans to build a lab in Virginia and closed its Vienna, Va., facility. PCRM member physicians fought long and hard against the establishment of the Arizona laboratory. In the end, victory came from a lack of demand for its services.

Covance is a contract company that tests cosmetic ingredients, food additives, pesticides, and drugs on monkeys, dogs, rabbits, rodents, and other animals. Six years ago, we began our campaign to stop Covance from building the animal-testing facility in Chandler as soon as we learned about its plans.

The tests Covance performs on animals are inherently cruel, but the pain the animals endure doesn’t end there. In 2006, we released a report detailing Animal Welfare Act violations at five Covance facilities around the country. Covance was also fined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture based on allegations of workers striking, choking, and tormenting primates at its Virginia facility.

The animal-testing process can involve risks for humans, with infectious diseases, animal wastes, animal carcasses, and toxic chemicals. Monkeys at a Covance research facility in Madison, Wis., tested positive for tuberculosis. Another Covance facility had to be evacuated when several research monkeys were discovered to be infected with the Ebola virus. Eventually, that facility had to be destroyed.

When Covance announced plans to build an incinerator that would have likely been used to destroy thousands of toxic animal carcasses each year, PCRM released a report detailing the potential health hazards posed to Chandler residents. The incinerator was never built.

We eventually gathered more than 1,300 statements of opposition from residents who did not want the proposed Chandler facility—with its cruelty and health risks. And we filed a lawsuit accusing Chandler city officials of illegally collaborating with Covance to keep citizens in the dark and out of the decision-making process.

Although Covance eventually opened the Chandler facility, citizens continued to speak out against this animal abuser, environmental threat, and public health menace until its demise this year.

PCRM continues our grassroots outreach and work with organizations, corporations, and government agencies to reduce and replace animal testing. You can learn more about our efforts at


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