Haven’t thought this one out all the way yet, but for those of you with strong emotions about what constitutes animal cruelty and specifically animal testing in the medical world, take note. Covance Inc. is hoping to build a new facility in Chandler, Arizona. The plant would potentially be one of the largest test centers in the nation.

Covance, a global biotech firm has already drawn protest from local animal rights activists, specifically Citizens Against Covance, led by Jan McClellan (for more, visit the website: All Creatures and search under Arizona). From the strength of the smear tactics against McClellan, led by lobbyist Rick Berman’s front group — the Center for Consumer Freedom, which doesn’t represent consumers, but rather specializes in attacking activists who oppose his corporate clients, its fair to say Covance has deep pockets. (For more on Berman’s shenanigans see: prwatch .

Covance, with headquarters in Princeton, N.J., is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive drug development services companies with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, global operations in 18 countries, and over 7,000 employees worldwide. Covance claims to be “the global leader in safety assessment testing” and “one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive drug development service companies”. Its customers include the top 50 global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the world.

Covance earns animal activist’s ire for their use of animals in medical toxicity studies. A list of services for big pharma includes: acute, subchronic & chronic toxicity, reproductive toxicology, neurotoxicity, as well as what are called ‘specialty services’ such as inhalation toxicology, primate toxicology, continuous infusion studies and ocular toxicity studies. Principally, Covance uses animals to benchmark poison levels for prospective drugs.

Covance purchased 38 acres for $8 million dollars last year (2005) in the Price Road corridor near Germann Road in Chandler, Arizona. They filed plans with the city, Friday 14 July 2006 for phase one of a two phase construction proposal. The initial facility calls for a 282 thousand square foot plant, with potential for further development to a total of 591 thousand square feet. At build out, the facility would be among the companies largest sites for the testing of drugs and they would employ up to 500 people.

Another Covance opponent, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, raised fears that the Chandler facility would include an incinerator for the disposal of the animals used in medical testing. Details of the plans and rezoning requests will be made available to the public in the near future and posted on the Chandler city website, Chandler, AZ . More to follow…

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