PETA Protests Against Land Acquisition By Covance

Animal testing firm Covance Inc. recently purchased 38 acres of land in Chandler, Arizona, which prompted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Citing an undercover video it shot of Covance’s Vienna, Virginia, laboratory and a several hundred page complaint PETA filed against Covance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, PETA wants Chandler to prevent Covance from building a facility in that city.

In a press release, PETA’s Mary Beth Sweetland said,

Chandler should be showing Covance the door, not rolling out the red carpet. Covance has an abysmal record of animal abuse and threats to public health that shouldnÂ’t be welcomed by any city.

PETA’s Alka Chandna told the Chandler News,

We have to petition Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn and the Chandler City Council to pull up the carpet and prevent Covance from setting up shop. These are hardly the sort of people Chandler residents want as their neighbors.

For its part, Covance is suing PETA and the undercover activist who shot the video, and denied that it engages in animal cruelty.

The land that Covance purchased is currently zoned agricultural, so any decision by Covance to build a facility on the land would require a zoning change. A Covance spokesperson told the Chandler News that it has no immediate plans to build on the site and has not applied for any building permits yet.

City spokesman Dave Bigos, however, told the Chandler News that the city council sees attracting biosciences firms to the area as crucial,

Biosciences is a growing presence in the Valley. It’s critical for the future of the Valley and Chandler.


Bioscience firm irks PETA, Covance busy land in Chandler. Alex Pickett, Chandler News, August 23, 2005.

PETA calls on Chandler to reject CovanceÂ’s proposed animal-testing lab. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, August 15, 2005.

Brave Activist Assaults Homeless Man

On July 8, a homeless man was assaulted by a female animal rights activist. The activist was not apprehended and police will not investigate further as the homeless man declined to press charges.

According to reports, the woman approach the man verbally abusing him because of the Covance advertisements. The unidentified woman then punched the man the face.

So why did an activist go out of her way to assault a homeless man? The man was trying to make a little money by selling UK magazine “The Big Issue in the North.” One of the advertisers in the magazine is animal testing firm Covance.

A spokesman for “The Big Issue” said his magazine had little choice but to stop taking ads from Covance,

We will not put the safety or our vendors at risk and feel we have no option other than to stop running the Covance adverts in the magazine. Picking on vulnerable people to get what you want is a despicable way to act. The Big Issue in the North works with people who are victimized. Our vendors are 13 times more likely to be attack in the street than any other member of the public. People should be supporting vendors and organizations like The Big Issue in the North to tackle inequalities and not reinforcing them.

Riiight. Apparently the magazine missed the noticed that homeless people are no better than mice or rats.

Covance apparently spent a rather small sum on ads in the magazine — just 2,500 pounds per year — and a spokesman lashed out at the sort of scum who would assault a homeless man,

It is a great shame that the Big Issue in the North, which does a great deal to help disadvantaged people to help themselves, has been forced into this position. They have done what they had to do because their vendors were vulnerable and their safety has to be the primary concern. Our anger is directed only towards those people who would attack a magazine vendor simply because the magazine doesn’t agree with their views.

The irony, of course, is that the advertisements were recruitment ads for clinical trials. So the activists want researchers to use people rather than animals for tests, but they’ll punch homeless people in the face when firms actually seek human volunteers for medical research.


Big Issue pulls ad after vendor attack. Manchester Evening News, July 28, 2005.

Big Issue rejects adverts after vendor is attacked. Russell Jenkins, The Times, July 29, 2005.

UK Court of Appeals Finds Animal Rights Activists' Sentences "Excessive"

In July, Great Britain’s Court of Appeals cut in half the sentences of two animal rights activists after finding they were excessive.

Paul Leboutillier, 44, was originally sentenced to five years, but his sentenced was lowered to 30 months. Paul Holliday, 38, was originally sentenced to 18 months, but had his sentence lowered to 9 months.

Between the two of them, Leboutillier and Holliday made more than a thousand telephone calls to facilities owned by Covance and Huntingdon Life Sciences. Most of the calls were made in an attempt to jam the telephone systems of the two companies.

The justices apparently bought in to Holliday’s contention that he himself was a victim of the animal rights movement. Mr. Justice Herniques noted that Holliday was a “vulnerable individual” who,

[Had] fallen under the influence of more militant members of the animal rights movement . . . and rued his involvement.

The judges also found that the judge who sentenced Leboutillier and Holliday had been influenced “by what he thought was a connection between the appellant and the person responsible for a campaign of letter bombs when in fact there was no such connection.”

Once again, the British legal system strikes fear into the hearts of animal rights extremists.


Jail sentences halved for animal rights activists. Laura Scott, Press Association, July 9, 2004.

British Activists Receive Jail Time for Harassing Phone Calls

In February, British animal rights activists Paul Holiday and Paul Leboutillier were sentenced to jail for making thousands of harassing phone calls to a variety of companies and individuals, including to the homes and workplace of Covance and Huntingdon Life Sciences employees.

Holiday was sentenced to 18 months and Leboutillier to 5 years.


2 activists sent to prison. Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network, February 26, 2004.

SHAC Plans to Target Japanese Customers of HLS

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty claims that it has received an extensive list of Huntingdon Life Sciences customers and contracts from a sympathizers within the company.

Among other things, SHAC plans to use the list to target Japanese companies who are customers of HLS. The Financial Times reports that some of Japan’s large chemical companies including Sumitomo, Daiichi, Mitsui, Eisai, and Fujisawa are on SHAC’s list of customers and are likely to be targets of SHAC’s variety of animal rights extremism.

Convicted SHAC criminal Greg Avery told The Financial Times,

Our supporters in Japan are very keen but very inexperienced. We will send 10 or 15 people from the UK and five to 10 from Europe to supplement them.

According to the Financial Times, SHAC claims to have raised 20,000 pounds to support its Japanese campaign.

Meanwhile, SHAC is also extending its campaign to target Covance as well.


Animal activists expand campaign against HLS. David Firn and Patrick Jenkins, The Financial Times, March 14, 2003.

Covance Should Not Bury Its Head in the Sand

Just when you think testing firms are finally getting the message about the animal rights movement, along comes somebody to prove that some folks in the industry still have not learned a thing from the campaign targeting Huntingdon Life Sciences.

In an article for The Financial Times (London), David Firn contacted several biotechnology and testing firms. Most of the firms seem to grasp how dangerous the animal rights movement is to their business. The BioIndustry Organization, which represents British biotech firms, supports efforts to allow shareholder anonymity in companies likely to be targeted by violent protesters.

But the folks at animal testing firm Covance just don’t get it. Covance’s market is largely the same as that of HLS. It is a contract research organization — pharmaceutical firms that need to test drug compound contract with Covance to perform such tests. Covance has facilities in the United States, Germany, Great Britain and elsewhere, and does extensive animal testing including with specially-bred dogs and rabbits.

Yet Chris Springall, head of toxicology for Covance’s UK operations, tells Firn that his firm is not too concerned about animal rights activists targeting his firm. The way Firn describes it, Springall sees HLS as a special case. Huntingdon was targeted because of 1998 documentary that made allegations of cruelty against HLS. Because of this, Springall argues that,

HLS was targeted by a special organization, SHAC. (SHAC) could easily be transferred to the US but we are not anticipating any difficulties.

Springall and others at Covance are burying their heads in the sand if they think that SHAC is going to simply fade away should it ever achieve its goal of driving HLS out of business. Such a victory would immediately make Covance, Quintiles, and other testing firms immediate targets of opportunity, using the same strategy that has been deployed relatively successfully against HLS.

Whether or not it is accurate, clearly Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty clearly believes it has the pharmaceutical industry on the run and living in fear, and it is hardly like to be satisfied for long with simply harassing HLS.


Silent message to animal rights activists: The events at Huntingdon Life Sciences have cast a shadow of fear over the pharmaceutical industry. David Firn, The Financial Times (London) January 11, 2002.