Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Drug Testing Giant Covance Plans to Build Vivisection Facility in Chandler, Arizona: Group Rallies Against


Group rallies against Covance in Chandler


By Jennifer Pinner, Tribune
April 24, 2006

Pictures of monkeys in viselike mechanisms and “Say NO to Covance” signs lined downtown Chandler on Sunday afternoon as about 100 animal rights activists protested the drug-testing company setting up shop in the city.

Covance plans to build a 400,000-square-foot facility on Price Road between Queen Creek and Germann roads, where it would test drugs on animals such as mice, hamsters, primates and dogs. The company bought the land last summer for $8 million.

Protester Chelsea Richards said she would move out of the city if Covance builds. “Chandler was founded by a veterinarian,” Richards said.

Founder Dr. A.J. Chandler was the first veterinary surgeon for the territory of Arizona in 1891, according to the city’s Web site.

“It’s a town with morals, and I feel morals will be compromised if Covance is here,” Richards said.

Jan McClellan, co-founder of Citizens Against Covance, said she chose Sunday for the rally because it was the first day of World Week for Animals in Laboratories.

The effort is meant to educate citizens about “the plight of animals used for testing and research,” according to the movement’s Web site.

“I thought it was the perfect time because we’re facing this right now,” McClellan said.

“We hope everybody’s just going to continue turning up the heat so Covance doesn’t submit plans,” she said.

Covance spokeswoman Camilla Strongin said the group has a right to protest, but the company will still move forward with plans to rezone the land so it can build.

“We feel the majority of Chandler residents are in favor of having safe medicines,” Strongin said.

“This is really all fueled by PETA and they have worked to draw attention in a number of ways we feel are negative and damaging to the citizens of Chandler. This is not about Covance, but biomedical research,” she said.

Citizens Against Covance first organized after a rally led by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals almost a year ago.

Since then, the group said it has distanced itself from that organization.

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