Covance: Beagle March Organizer is Known Liar

Camilla Strongin, spokeswoman for Covance, took issue with our Tuesday post about a planned march of beagles this Sunday in protest of the medical testing company in Chandler:

Maybe you should do a little research on Jan McClellan before providing her cause such ligitamcy. I have included a story that ran in the Republic back in 2006 when Jan was caught giving phony names in an attemp to hide her association with CAC.

WWAIL is an animal rights activity that has resulted in the liberation of laboratory animals that are helpless to fend for themselves,the destruction of government property targeted toward intimidating researchers, this is not done in the name of animal welfare.

These activities are created to result in media attention and do nothing to further the cause of the humane treatment of animals.

Strongin also provided a link to the Arizona Republic article, which states:

McClellan, 57, has for months insisted she is just a Chandler resident concerned about drug testing on animals and not affiliated with the national group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

But in the e-mail [to supporters], McClellan said she and another woman gave fake names to the Gilbert Kiwanis Club, which was sponsoring the Carson & Barnes Circus, "because it would be detrimental to the Covance campaign for us to be associated with this protest."

We talked to Strongin yesterday about the issue, who tells us the issue of animal testing at Covance is kind of moot because of federal laws. Before a company can start selling medical products, the FDA requires they be tested "on a rodent and a non-rodent," she says. Traditionally, that non-rodent has been a beagle.

"There's a lot of institutional history with beagles," she says. "From a temperamental standpoint, they're ideally suited for that environment. They're not really a large dog."

The beagles used by Covance are bred for research, not to be pets, she says.

Strongin says animal rights groups can have their beliefs, but that they sometimes cross the line, breaking into facilities like Covance and releasing animals or blowing up things. But she admits that McClellan's group, Citizens Against Covance, hasn't done anything like that.

What she objects to is the "misinformation" about animal rights testing.

"There is no alternative," she says.

While that may be true, there's no question that the beagles marching outside the Covance building on Sunday have it better than the beagles stuck inside.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.