High Court Rules That PETA Europe Should Be Allowed To Show Video Of Monkey Abuse Inside Covance Lab
Judge Calls Video Showing Verbal and Physical Assault on Primates ‘Highly Disturbing’
For Immediate Release:
17 June 2005
Andrew Butler 020 7357 9229, ext. 230
Leeds – Yesterday afternoon, His Honour Judge Langan handed down judgment in the case for injunctive relief brought by Covance Laboratories Inc. against PETA Europe Ltd, dismissing the case and calling the arguments against granting an interim injunction “cumulative and … overwhelming”.
Furthermore, PETA Europe was awarded £50,000, on account of its costs. 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.
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”.
The video also shows multiple violations of the US Animal Welfare Act, which PETA has detailed in a 272-page complaint to the US Department of Agriculture. PETA US is also challenging Covance, which is seeking removal of the video footage from the group’s Web site, in the US courts.
Among the violations that PETA US documented at a Covance facility in Vienna, Virginia, 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 socialization and enrichment, which is required by the AWA, 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 has an animal welfare statement in which the company claims to treat animals with “care and respect”. Judge Langan calls the contrast between Covance’s claim and the reality exposed by the PETA US investigation “a comparison between two different worlds”. His Honour goes 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 have the right to see how monkeys are being systematically abused in the world’s largest testing laboratory”, says PETA Campaign Coordinator Andrew Butler. “Videotape of animals being hit and choked at Covance is not proprietary information – it is criminal evidence that deserves to be seen and we will continue to fight for the right to do so. The primates held in those tiny, barren steel cages need protection urgently.”
Application for leave to appeal is open to Covance for 14 days, during which time the interim injunction stands, but PETA Europe will challenge any and all appeals.
For more information about PETA US’ investigation into Covance, 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
• A full copy of the judgment is available on request