Gloria Steinem Speaks Out Against Covance’s Cruelty
Opposition to Covance Laboratories is heating up. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem has taken a public stand against Covance’s animal experiments, and five new plaintiffs have joined a lawsuit filed over the contract testing company’s plans to build a large animal-testing facility in Chandler, Ariz.
Steinem spoke out in mid-October after learning that Covance was sponsoring an anti-domestic-violence luncheon in Madison, Wis., at which the author and activist was scheduled to speak. After Steinem expressed concerns about the animals suffering in Covance’s laboratories, the company was removed as an event sponsor, and Steinem went forward with her speech.
Steinem’s office issued this statement about the incident: “Gloria Steinem expressed her severe discomfort at participating at an event for [a local human services agency] sponsored by Covance after she was alerted to the fact that thousands of animals suffer in the Covance laboratories. She stated, ‘Animal abuse is so connected to domestic abuse—literally in a household, but societally in a more general way, too.’ Using one's power to harm others is contrary to Ms. Steinem's life's work and Covance was dropped as a sponsor for the event.”
Covance has a disturbing history of animal abuse. It was investigated and fined by the USDA based on documented allegations of abusing primates at its Virginia facility, and in 2005 alone, five Covance facilities, operating as Covance Research Products, had serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Covance is also the largest contract animal tester in the world, importing more than 12,000 primates for experimentation in the United States.
Many Chandler residents are concerned by Covance’s Animal Welfare Act violations, but they are also worried about Covance’s poor record on public health issues. In July, seven residents joined PCRM in filing suit against the city of Chandler over the company’s planned facility in the city. PCRM’s legal complaint notes that Covance has repeatedly imported primates infected with tuberculosis, Ebola, and other dangerous diseases. Covance has also refused to describe how it will safely dispose of the nearly 100,000 drug- and chemical-laden animal carcasses it will generate each year.
The Chandler lawsuit accuses city officials of violating the Arizona Open Meeting Act and city ordinances in allowing Covance to begin construction of a facility in the Chandler Airpark. On September 20, PCRM amended the complaint to include five new plaintiffs, all of whom live within 500 feet of the Covance property and share the same concerns as the original plaintiffs. Two of those five live less than 150 feet away.
The first hearing in the lawsuit will take place later this year.