Covance Laboratories

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Covance Laboratories is an international contract research organization (CRO) and laboratory animal breeding company. Firms hire CROs to conduct toxicity animal testing for agrochemicals, petrochemicals, household products, pharmaceuticals and toxins. Covance has facilities in over 25 countries with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. [1] Covance is one of the world's largest CRO's. Services include drug development, preclinical testing, human clinical trials, toxicology studies, biostatistical analysis and post-marketing studies. Customers include companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, chemical, agrochemical and processed food industries.

In the fiscal year endng in December of 2008, the company reported sales of approximately 1.83 billion dollars and had 9,600 employees. [2]

Covance & the tobacco industry

Under its former name of Hazleton Laboratories, Covance was associated with the Council for Tobacco Research and conducted animal testing for tobacco companies. In September of 1972, Carl Baker, the former chairman of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), became the president of Hazleton Laboratories. Hazleton was a "major research contractor" for NCI and had been conducting chemosol treated cigarette studies for "tar" tumorigenicity for nine U.S. cigarette manufacturers since 1970. [3]

Second hand smoke studies

In the 1990s, Covance performed studies sponsored by the tobacco industry claiming that even extreme exposure to secondhand smoke was safe for humans. According to the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, secondhand smoke substantially increases the risks of lung cancer and heart disease. Covance internal documents from 2002 discuss a "Philip Morris/Covance Project Team" for studies. At a November 2005 tobacco trade-group conference in Manila, Philippines, Covance's presentation was entitled: How Can Covance Support Research and Development Needs of the Tobacco Industry? [4]

Philip Morris

The Altria Group is a parent company whose primary holdings include the Philip Morris companies and which formerly included Kraft Foods. The Altria Group is a client of Covance Laboratories. [5]

See also section 3.

Animal testing

Facility information, progress reports & USDA-APHIS reports

For links to copies of a facility's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) reports, other information and links, see also Stop Animal Experimentation NOW!: Facility Reports and Information. This site contains listings for all 50 states, links to biomedical research facilities in that state and PDF copies of government documents where facilities must report their animal usage. (Search locations: Vienna; Madison, Wisconsin; Denver, Pennsylvania)

This facility performed animal experiments involving pain or distress but no analgesics, anesthetics or pain relievers were administered. For copies of this facility's USDA-Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) reports, other information and links, see also Facility Reports and Information: Covance Laboratories, Inc, Madison, WI. [6]

USDA AWA reports

As of May 26, 2009, the USDA began posting all inspection reports for animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, handlers, research facilities and animal carriers by state. See also USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Reports.

Animal cruelty & welfare violations

Tracheostomized beagle attached to smoking machine

Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) is a national research watchdog organization. [7] SAEN has included Covance Laboratories among the worst violators of U.S. laws. Covance amassed a combined 42 violations between their Pennsylvania and Virginia laboratories, including the starving of dogs and failure to provide veterinary care for broken bones. (Government reports and ranking statistics available upon request.) [8]

NCI sponsored study: Smoking beagles

In an NCI sponsored study, Hazleton provided animal data favorable to the tobacco industry that contributed to the continued marketing of cigarettes. Between February of 1978 and March of 1980, Hazleton conducted a two-year study of for NCI on the the cardiovascular effects of mainstream cigarette smoke and carbon monoxide on "204 permanently tracheostomized male beagle" dogs. The dogs were forced to inhale all of the mainstream smoke generated by six cigarettes a day while being fed diets of varying levels of cholesterol. A number of dogs died during the study. The study concluded that smoking may have "a possible protective effect" and "lent no support to the suggestion that cigarette smoking increases the rate of development of atherosclerosis." [9] See also smoking beagles.

Splenda: Sadistically Sweet

Splenda is the brand name for Sucralose, an artificial sweetener manufactured by by McNeil Speciality Products, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and is the first no-calorie based sweetener ever developed. It was predicted to be a highly profitable money maker for British sugar giant Tate & Lyle, who commissioned the research. Thousands of animals, including beagles, monkeys, rabbits and rodents were poisoned and killed in various ways for the 20 year study on Sucralose; known in the United States as Splenda.

Thousands of monkeys, rabbits, mice and rats were killed during tests in the United Kingdom. Many died of trauma and others suffered from extreme weight loss, convulsions and intestinal disorders. Some of these experiments were conducted at Covance Laboratories at Harrogate, Yorkshire. The British Union For The Abolition Of Vivisection (BUAV) has estimated that tens of thousands of animals have died in the testing of this product. [10] See also Splenda: Sadistically Sweet.

U.S. animal welfare investigations

PETA investigation of Covance Laboratories, Vienna, VA. - April 2004 - March 2005

Denver, Pennsylvania

In 2004 and 2005, the Denver, PA Covance facility amassed 27 violations in the areas of veterinary care, housing and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) [11] violations. Incidents at this Covance facility caused intense suffering to rabbits, pigs and dogs documented by attending veterinarians and the IACUC. Incidents included placing dogs and pigs in food restrictive devices resulting in severe weight loss and inadequate post surgical care for rabbits. [12]

Vienna, Virginia

For a six month period from April 26, 2004, to March 11, 2005, an undercover investigator from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) videotaped systematic abuse of animals at Covance Laboratories' facility in Vienna, Virginia. [13] The investigator's video described the laboratory as a documentation of "terror, sadness, sickness, injuries, suffering, and death" (of monkeys from the wild and Covance breeding facilities). According to the investigator, animal technicians referred to the head veterinarian as "Mr. Let's Wait and See." Primate staff (even those who often abused monkeys) complained repeatedly about a young monkey left in his cage with a broken arm for four days. The break was so severe, that the monkey later had to be euthanized on the advice of a veterinarian who returned from "time off", after this period. The only pain medication it received during the four days was a mild aspirin equivalent. [14] PETA filed a 273-page complaint with the USDA detailing violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).[15], [16], [17]

Short list of FD&C Act violations for Vienna, Virginia

The following is a short list of the over 100 violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) [18] for Covance's facility in Vienna, Virginia. These violations and this video (above) led to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA investigations.

Sick & dying primates: PETA investigation of Covance Laboratories, Vienna, VA. - April 2004 - March 2005
  • "Striking, choking, screaming and cursing at "uncooperative", frightened and sick monkeys.
  • Slamming monkeys into their cages after they've had dosing tubes inserted down their noses and throats.
  • Hosing down cages with sick, injured or recovering monkeys and/or dogs still inside.
  • Slamming cages to terrorize loose monkeys out of hiding. Slamming the head of an escaped monkey against concrete.
  • Denial of veterinary care and deaths in drug tests in which the veterinarian was forbidden to examine, treat or euthanize.
  • Inappropriate sized dosing tubes - small monkeys dosed with large tubes forced up their nostrils and down into their stomachs, causing choking, gagging, and daily bloody noses.
  • Self-mutilation resulting from Covance's failure to provide psychological enrichment and socialization.
  • Injuries left untreated until they became necrotic. Broken arm untreated for 4 days.
  • Non-stop blaring loud rock music, creating discomfort and alarm.
  • Physical and psychological abuse of primates falling outside of the written study parameters.
  • Falsifying records to cover up problems with the health of study animals and worker incompetence.
  • Lack of employee training and supervision. Uncertified employees anesthetizing animals.
  • Teasing, taunting, and yelling at primates for amusement.
  • Knowingly using unhealthy animals in studies.
  • Painful procedures performed in full view of other primates. Improperly grounded medical equipment burning research animals.
  • During new technician training the new employees were told that there is nothing wrong with screaming or cursing at the monkeys, and forcing the monkeys to "dance"'
  • Removing the quarantine sign from the quarantine room so that employees did not have to wear the required medical protection gowns.
  • Intoxicated employees performing lab procedures on monkeys.
  • Covance research director not euthanizing sick monkeys when directed to do so by the veterinarian.
  • Failure to isolate imported primates. Malaria-infected monkeys still used in studies for pharmaceuticals.
  • Lying about the cause of death for three monkeys found dead in their cages." [19]

====USDA reports===-

Five year ban on infiltration

Covance subsequently filed a lawsuit against PETA and it's operative, Lisa Leitten. In October of 2005, PETA agreed to a ban on conducting any infiltration of Covance for five years. Lisa Leitten agreed to a three year ban on infiltrating any commercial animal research facility worldwide. PETA and Leitten also agreed not to publish or share videos or written materials taken from Covance. The settlement was confirmed by the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Virginia. [21]

European animal welfare investigations

Munster, Germany

Behind the walls at Covance Laboratories. - PETA & BUAV

For five months in 2003, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) sent German journalist Friedrich Mülln to work undercover in the Covance facility in Münster, Germany, Europe's largest primate-testing center. Mülln obtained photographs, video, and other evidence of primate abuse. The laboratory specializes in toxicology and tests on pregnant primates. The undercover footage revealed staff forcing monkeys to "dance" to blaring music, rough handling and screaming at primates. Primates were filmed living in isolation in small, wire cages with little or no natural light and high noise levels (between loud radios and the yelling of staff).

Local authorities inspected the Munster facility after video footage was shown on German television and insisted video cameras be installed to monitor staff working with primates. Covance won a subsequent appeal, arguing that video monitoring would "infringe the rights of the staff". The public prosecutor's office concluded that Covance "had not rendered themselves liable to prosecution," and cleared them of all charges. [22]

Attempt to stop airing of videos in Europe

Covance also filed a lawsuit to forbid further distribution of material. The ban sparked major protests from animal rights and anti-censorship activists. Covance's claims were partially revoked by a higher court, citing the public's right to information over the company's "privacy". The court decided that the video footage could be aired publicly (in a different format and not by animal rights groups). [23] Covance also pressured the BUAV's internet provider to against carrying video and photographs of the investigation. [24] See also video clip of European investigation. [25]

Covance also filed a lawsuit to prevent PETA from airing video footage of their investigation in Europe. However, the judge ruled in PETA's favor. According to Hon. Peter Langan of the United Kingdom, the rough manner and bleak surroundings "cried out for explanation, even to a viewer with no particular interest in animal welfare". Covance Laboratories Limited v. PETA Europe Limited was filed in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, Leeds District Registry, Claim No. 5C-00295. The court also ordered Covance to pay PETA £50,000 in costs and fees. [26]

Animal breeding & live animal imports

A company division of called Covance Research Products (CRP) is based in Denver, Pennsylvania. CRP imports, breeds and sells laboratory animals. [27] CRP provides canines, rabbits and primates for laboratories and has created and trademarked new breeds of animals, including the "Mini-Mongrel dog". [28] Covance is the largest importer of primates in the U.S. and the world's largest breeder of laboratory dogs. [29]

Primate imports

In 2006, 26,638 primates were imported into the US; a 44% increase over 2004. The three companies responsible for over 75% of all of these imports were Charles River and SNBL and Covance Laboratories at 11,738 that year. Cynomolgus macaques made up 92% followed by rhesus macaques, marmosets, squirrel monkeys and other macaques. Half of all primates were imported from China. [30]

Lobbying & public relations

In the fiscal year ending in 2008, Covance paid $100,000 to Policy Directions Inc. [31]

Key executives

  • Joseph Herring, Chairman & CEO
  • Wendel Barr, Executive VP & COO
  • William Klitgaard, Corporate Senior VP & CFO


210 Carnegie Center
Princeton, New Jersey 08540
United States

Phone: 609-452-4440 Fax: 609-452-9375 [33]

U.S. 888-268-2623
Europe 609-419-2240
Africa 800-2682-2682
Asia/Pacific 800-6568-3000

See also global office locations.[34]

Web address:

Articles & sources

SourceWatch resources


  1. About Covance, Company Overview, Covance, accessed July 2009
  2. Company Description: Covance, Inc., Hoovers, accessed February 2010
  3. Tobacco Institute Newsletter Number 54, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, July 1972
  4. John J. Pippin, M.D. Covance Gets an "F" in Social Responsibility Test, Chandler Republic', August 2006
  5. Proposal 5 — Animal Welfare Policy, Altria Group, Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders, April 2007
  6. Facility Reports and Information: Covance Laboratories, Inc, Madison, WI, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, accessed October 2009
  7. Description of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, Wiserearth, accessed November 20, 2008
  8. Micheal Budkie, Pharmaceutical/Testing Companies Among Nation’s Leaders for Federal Violations, Says Watchdog Group, SAEN, February 2007
  9. Final Report Inhalation Bioassay of Cigarette Smoke in Dogs Effects of Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide on Atherogenesis Project No. 976-904, Contract No. ECI-SHP-75-112, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, June 1981
  10. Mike Hamilton Sweetener Slaughter: 12,800 animals die for no-calorie pills, Daily Mirror, August 2001
  11. About us, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, accessed February 2009
  12. Michael A. Budkie Breaking the Law II, Animal Care in U.S. Labs: Government Sanctioned Negligence, Specific Facilities, Covance, PA, SAEN, accessed February 2009
  13. Inside Covance U.S., People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, accessed February 2009
  14. Inside Covance U.S., Introduction,, accessed February 2009
  15. Animal Welfare Act and Regulations, U.S. Department of Agriculture, December 2009
  16. Where Is the Government? The U.S. Department of Agriculture,, accessed February 2009
  17. Mary Beth Sweetland Letter to the USDA, May 2005
  18. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Food and Drug Administration, September 2009
  19. Animal Cruelty: Covance's 100+ Violations, Citizens Against Covance, 2007
  20. Animal Cruelty, Citizens Against Covance, October 2007
  21. Settlement Agreement: Covance Laboratories vs. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals & Lisa Leittan, Covance, accessed June 2009
  22. Life Sciences Encyclopedia: Covance,, accessed September 2009
  23. Life Sciences Encyclopedia: Covance,, accessed September 2009
  24. Covance Busted in Europe,, accessed February 2003
  25. Covance Tries to Silence Critics of Cruelty to Primates,, accessed February 2009
  26. Proposal 5 — Animal Welfare Policy, Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Altria Group, April 2007
  27. Covance Research Products, Covance Research Products, accessed June 2009
  28. CRP Overview, CRP, accessed June 2009
  29. John J. Pippin, M.D. Covance Gets an 'F' in Social Responsibility Test, Chandler Republic', August 2006
  30. An Introduction to Primate Issues: Importation of Primates on the Rise, HSUS, accessed November 2009
  31. Annual Lobbying by Policy Directions Inc., Center for Responsive Politics, 2008
  32. Company Description: Covance, Inc., Hoovers, accessed February 2010
  33. Company Description: Covance, Inc., Hoovers, accessed February 2010
  34. Contact Us: Global Office Locations, Covance, accessed December 2009

External articles

External resources

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