Covance Monkey Lab Update
Posted at 9:55 AM (PDT) on Tuesday, August 2, 2005

From Contact Music:

Anderson's Efforts Pay Off For PETA

Gillian Anderson's efforts against an animal testing company are paying off, after a Virginia court ruled video footage showing the animals' plight can be screened.

Former X-FILES star Anderson caused a storm of controversy recently, when she showed footage of monkeys being tortured by a Virginia animal testing company on her website in support of animal rights activists People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Earlier this year (05), PETA was served with a cease and desist lawsuit by attorneys representing laboratory Covance Inc, after they aired the disturbing footage, shot during an 11-month undercover investigation.

But the legal threat didn't deter Anderson from putting the footage - which allegedly features workers hitting, choking, taunting and deliberately tormenting terrified monkeys - on her own website.

And in the first stage of the battle, a Virginia court has now ruled that PETA can show video. A final decision on the footage has yet to be made.

Thanks Laura and magnolia18!


Covance Drops Lawsuit Against PETA Europe

Covance Laboratories has been working overtime on damage control after undercover video footage taken by a PETA U.S. investigator exposed the company’s cruel treatment of animals. Unable to convince a court to prevent the public from seeing how monkeys are systematically abused in its laboratories, Covance has dropped its lawsuit against PETA Europe, an action that marks the latest in a string of legal victories for animals in the fight against the giant drug-testing conglomerate. Covance must also pay PETA Europe’s legal costs associated with the case.

Shortly after PETA U.S. went public with an 11-month investigation inside a Covance laboratory in Vienna, Virginia­documenting appalling physical and psychological abuse of monkeys­Covance requested an injunction preventing PETA Europe from showing the shocking video footage. On June 16, a U.K. judge dismissed that case, characterizing the video as “highly disturbing.” The judge also commented 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.”

In contrast to the abuse uncovered by PETA U.S., Covance’s “Animal Welfare Statement” claims that the company treats the animals in its facilities with “care and respect.” The judge called the difference between Covance’s claim and the reality exposed by the PETA U.S. investigation “a comparison between two different worlds,” and he went on to say that where Covance “has fostered a misleading impression, PETA Europe is entitled to correct it publicly.” He then ordered Covance to pay PETA Europe £50,000 for its legal costs. Covance appealed the judge’s decision, but following a preliminary review in which the Court of Appeals described that case as an “uphill task” for the company, Covance withdrew its appeal on July 25. This increased the amount of legal costs that Covance must pay for PETA Europe.

In the U.S., Covance’s censorship attempts also failed when it had to withdraw motions for both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, which were aimed at preventing PETA U.S. from showing the video. Covance is still attempting to sue PETA U.S. for placing an undercover investigator in its laboratory, but its failure to gag either PETA U.S. or PETA Europe means that the public and the media will be able to watch the undercover footage as the case unfolds.

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