Covance Drops Appeal Of High Court Judgment, Allowing PETA Europe To Show Video Of Monkey Abuse Inside Its Lab
Judge Calls Undercover Video Showing Physical Assault on Primates ‘Highly Disturbing’
For Immediate Release:
26 July 2005
Andrew Butler 020 7357 9229, ext. 230
London – In a June 16th judgment in the case for injunctive relief brought by Covance Laboratories Inc against PETA Europe Ltd, His Honour Judge Langan dismissed the case and called the arguments against granting an interim injunction “cumulative and … overwhelming”. Covance sought to appeal but, following a preliminary review in which the Court of Appeal described this as an “uphill task”, Covance has now withdrawn its application, filing a notice of discontinuance on Monday, 25 July.
PETA Europe was also awarded £50,000, on account of its costs by His Honour Judge Langan. Now Covance has to pay further costs to PETA by reason of the discontinuance.
Covance sought the injunction in order to prevent PETA Europe from showing video footage from an 11-month PETA US undercover investigation into a Covance animal-testing facility in the United States.
This important judgment will make it more difficult in the future for animal abusers to obtain injunctions to prevent the public from seeing what they clearly have a right to know. During the trial, the court was presented with the 28-minute video that resulted from the investigation, causing Judge Langan to comment on the “rough manner in which the animals [are] handled and the bleakness of the surroundings in which they are kept”, matters which, he said, “cry out for explanation”.
Among the abuses documented on the video are the following:
• Animals with broken limbs deprived of veterinary care and euthanasia; animals found having seizures; animals with oozing open wounds on their legs and animals who had suffered side effects from drugs that left them in conditions that required mercy killing
• Physical and psychological violence against primates by Covance workers, including sick monkeys jammed forcefully into plastic restraint tubes and terrified monkeys slammed to the floor, sprayed with water, intentionally tormented and thrown into their cages after having drugs forced into their stomachs
• Baby monkeys whose noses bled daily because of Covance’s failure to use the proper-size tubes to thread up their noses, down their throats and into their stomachs to deliver test substances
• Chronic diarrhoea caused by stress
• Failure to provide the monkeys with socialisation and enrichment, which is required by the American Animal Welfare Act, leading to self-mutilation and repetitive behaviour such as circling, back-flipping and swaying – all of which have been identified by animal behaviourists as directly associated with loneliness and a lack of enrichment
In contrast to the abuse uncovered by PETA US, Covance put forward an animal welfare statement in which the company claims to treat animals with “care and respect”. His Honour Judge Langan remarked that the comparison between Covance’s claim and the reality exposed by the PETA US investigation was as “between two different worlds”. He went on to say that to the extent that Covance “has fostered a misleading impression, PETA Europe is entitled to correct it publicly”.
“The court ruling means that the public and the media will be able to see how monkeys are being systematically abused in the world’s largest testing laboratory”, says PETA Europe Campaign Coordinator Andrew Butler. “That Covance sought to suppress this evidence is proof positive that they care more about their public image than addressing the legitimate concerns of the animal protection community and caring people around the world.”
For more information about PETA US’ investigation into Covance and to view the undercover video, please visit CovanceCruelty.co.uk.
Notes to Editors
• The trial took place at Leeds District Registry on 27 May and 10 June.
• Judgment was handed down at Newcastle District Registry on 16 June.
• Notice of Discontinuance was filed with the courts on 25 July.
• A full copy of the judgment is available on request.