A macaque's amber eyes

Extreme Primate Suffering at Covance Laboratories, Inc.

Frances Chrzan, January 5, 2021

When I was in 8th grade, I took a really hard fall during gymnastics practice and I fractured part of my lower back. The pain was excruciating, but due to the close proximity of the fracture to my spine, surgery wasn’t an option. Instead, I did lots of physical therapy and different rounds of medications. To this day, I still have issues because of it, and still do physical therapy. That being said, I chose to play sports and that injury didn’t destroy my life.

The same can’t be said for two monkeys who lived and died at Covance Laboratories, Inc., in Madison, Wisconsin.

An inspection in May of 2019, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), revealed that there were two separate incidents, only days apart, that resulted in “irreparable” orthopedic—bone and joint—damage to two monkeys. The report is vague, lacking detail about what exactly these monkeys experienced, and how broken they were. USDA does that—they don’t want details of animal suffering in labs to see the light of day.

The report also said that these injuries happened because of how lab personnel handled the monkeys. Because these injuries occurred and weren’t able to be repaired, the experimenters decided to kill the monkeys. Had they just been careful, the monkeys wouldn’t have suffered those specific injuries. They wouldn’t have been killed for that reason.

Monkeys in labs have no say in what happens to them. They live in a constant state of fear, with no real hope of escape. Experimenters hurt them and force them to do unnatural things. The monkeys’ instincts for survival include trying to protect themselves and to cling onto their cages to avoid being forced to endure more experiments. At this lab, the staff rips them from their cages, breaks their bones, tears their joints, and then kills them.

In these two instances, lab staff were so rough with the monkeys, they caused severe, painful damage to the monkeys’ bones and joints. Damage so extreme that the experimenters opted to kill the monkeys to end the inevitable suffering. The staff at Covance Laboratories, Inc. literally broke these monkeys’ bodies, then discarded them as if their lives were worthless.

Having experienced a broken part of my body, I can’t imagine the pain and suffering these two individuals experienced. And it was totally avoidable.

We think that everything that happens to animals in labs is unacceptable. But evidence of pure carelessness and callous disregard for animal life is exceptionally concerning.

That’s why we asked that USDA do another inspection, about a year and a half later, to see whether this blatant cruelty still happens. We requested that USDA do an unannounced, unscheduled inspection of Covance Laboratories, Inc. to check on how the staff treats the animals in its possession.

Take action on behalf of the two primates needlessly injured and killed at Covance Laboratories. 

Demand a surprise inspection of this lab.

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