Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Covance and Jane Goodall

Covance is one of the largest contract testing labs in the world. For a fee, Covance will poison any number of animals of your species of choice.

While putting together a fact sheet for an upcoming protest at the Madison, Wisconsin lab, I came upon a statement regarding Covance from Jane Goodall on the BUAV website, Poisoning For Profit.

The small cages which are typical for monkeys used in medical research all around the world, these tiny wire, barren cages, with usually nothing in them at all, they are so horrendous. I mean, I've spent my life in the wild, I know what it's like for a social living creature with the intelligence of a monkey. They have this rich social life, they're surrounded by their family, they're challenged every day, their minds are working and their lives are just fantastic out in the forest.

And to see a monkey alone in a cage like that, with nothing to do so that they go completely crazed with boredom and sadness probably, it's deeply, deeply disturbing.

I think to use any animal in poison experiments is wrong. The higher up the scale we come vis-à-vis the complexity of the brain which suggests a greater capacity for emotions, for feelings, for understanding what's going on, for anticipating what's going to come next, is completely wrong. And to use primates, to use monkeys in experiments like this, is absolutely not acceptable.

The video that I saw showing how these helpless animals were treated, the brutality, the callousness, the joking and laughing, the total lack of dignity, they were being treated like things, like inanimate things, and it deeply shocked me. It made me extremely angry and something has to be done about it, and I don't see how you can have a group of people sitting to judge whether or not this should be allowed, who can see that film and not come away and say we have to stop it now.

I would like to see an end to primates and other creatures - dogs, cats - being used in experiments. But primates, because they are more like us, we just have this feeling that for them it must be particularly horrendous. And one of the things I think is so disturbing, you see this small monkey and he or she, pregnant females too, being dragged out of their cages, resisting with every ounce of strength they have out of total terror, total fear, total panic. And they have no way of escaping, they are using every little thing they have inside them to get out, and it just makes you want to start weeping, because they are helpless and there is nothing they can do. And then on top of that to be treated so cruelly, so brutally, so callously, it doesn't bear thinking about. And it is going on every single day....
Undercover investigations at the Covance labs in Münster, Germany and Vienna, Virginia, came away with video documentation that was essentially identical other than the fact that the lab workers in Germany were yelling at the animals in German.

The Virginia investigation led to multiple citations for violations of federal law. Covance was cited by the USDA for:

Handling primates in a verbally abusive manner

Handling primates in a physically abusive manner

Failure of oversight committees and scientists to properly classify procedures as causing pain and distress – resulting in a lack of protocol to alleviate pain.

Denial of veterinarian authority to treat pain or administer mercy euthanasia

Failure to provide adequate space and exercise for dogs

Failure to adequately provide mandated psychological well-being considerations for primates
You can read all the hideous detail and see the videos on line. We've put together a set of links here.

It's hard to imagine the twisted mindset someone would have to have in order to go to work everyday and do things that Jane Goodall characterizes as "absolutely not acceptable."

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