Covance Eyes New Chandler Location for Animal-Testing Facility
Faced with immense citizen opposition, Covance Laboratories may be changing its strategy in building a new animal-testing facility in Chandler, Ariz., to avoid the possibility of a referendum and public vote. PCRM is urging Chandler residents to continue letting their mayor and City Council members know that they don’t want Covance in their town.
Covance, which is paid to test cosmetic ingredients, food additives, pesticides, and drugs on monkeys, dogs, rabbits, and rodents, has a history of animal cruelty. Covance was recently investigated and fined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture based on documented allegations of striking, choking, and tormenting primates at its Virginia facility. A new PCRM report details a long list of Animal Welfare Act violations at five Covance facilities around the country.
The proposed Chandler facility could also pose health threats to humans. Monkeys can carry an array of diseases dangerous to humans, including hepatitis B, shigella, tuberculosis, and Ebola. A Covance facility in Virginia, operating under the company’s previous name, was forced to shut down after a monkey there was found to be carrying the Ebola virus.
Covance originally planned to build a 590,000-square-foot facility in Chandler at the corner of Price and Germann roads. However, this location would have had to be rezoned for industrial use. This rezoning process would have required a City Council vote, and if the council approved the rezoning, there would have been more than enough support from Chandler residents to force a referendum on the ballot. More than 1,300 Chandler residents had already signed statements of opposition to Chandler, and only 1,262 signatures of registered voters would be necessary to force the issue to a public vote.
Now Covance has announced a plan to buy an even bigger parcel of land. This property, which is located at the intersection of Gilbert and Ryan roads, is already zoned for industrial use. Covance claims that this will allow it to circumvent citizen input because no City Council vote for rezoning would be required.
PCRM Online, November 2006