About 25 protesters campaigning to keep a global drug developer out of Chandler lined street corners in the city’s downtown Tuesday afternoon.
Holding signs that said “Covance is not welcome in Chandler,” the protesters from Citizens Against Covance filled most of the corners of the intersection of Arizona Avenue and Buffalo Street, avoiding one made impassable by construction.
Jan McClellan, a Chandler resident and spokeswoman for the group, said the construction barriers might have worked to their advantage.
“There’s lots of construction here, but still a lot of people drive down here and get stuck in the construction, so I think they’ll see it,” she said.
The group’s concerns center on allegations that Covance abuses animals used in its product tests. Covance officials did not respond to a message left for comment Tuesday at the company’s offices in New Jersey, but the company has posted a “code of respect for animals in research and development” on its Web site, www.covance.com.
Covance, the world’s largest drug developer, plans to open a 400,000-square-foot, $100-million clinical testing facility in Chandler by 2008. The company bought a 38-acre parcel of land near Germann and Price roads for $8 million last summer, but has not yet submitted development plans to the city.
The protesters said they want to halt Covance’s plans.
McClellan said the group makes it a point to attend city events, has met with most members of the City Council and has found allies in everyone from real estate agents to preschool teachers. It has established a Web site,
The group themed its Tuesday protest on three generations of a Chandler family attending.
Cathy Valladolid brought her daughter, Brandi, and 21-month-old granddaughter, Ella Yellig, to the event. Valladolid said her mother, a breast cancer survivor, also denounces animal testing, “so actually, there are four generations against Covance.”
“We have the same kinds of perspectives and feelings about this issue,” Valladolid said of her family.
“Ella’s mother (Valladolid’s daughter, Vanessa) wants to raise her with this same kind of compassion and concern. It’s not just the animal issue, it’s lots of unanswered questions about what Covance will bring to the community,” she said.