How We Put Our Beliefs Into Action

Over the past 30 years, we’ve established and maintained a corporate culture that makes animal welfare a top priority. From our commitment to the 3Rs to our careful adherence to government regulations, we strive every day to make sure we treat our research animals humanely and with respect.

Recently our Culture of CARE has taken a new focus on an all-inclusive culture, where Clients, Animals, Research, and Employees are at the heart of our attention and respect. To mark this event, we held a global rollout including renewed commitments, vision statement, and a new animal welfare awareness training.

Covance CARE graphic

Our vision is a culture where staff and stakeholders are united in a strong commitment to CARE, which is firmly founded on the 3Rs and embraces innovative advances in animal welfare.

We continue to develop and implement technologies that advance our commitment to innovation and the 3Rs:


Proper and humane care for research animals is not just the right thing to do, it’s also fundamental to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of new medicines that improve and save the lives of people and animals all over the world.  We’ve taken meaningful steps toward building and maintaining a corporate culture that makes animal welfare a top priority.

Employee representatives from around the world contribute to our Global 3Rs Working Group, fostering respect and compassion for research animals. The group communicates directly with fellow employees to reiterate the clear links between excellent animal welfare, great science and commercial success. The group also conducts our Global 3Rs Recognition Program.

Our Global 3Rs Recognition Program celebrates employees who have developed innovative ways to improve animal welfare and research results. It also establishes role models within the company. Winners of our Global 3Rs Recognition Awards draw on their inventiveness and scientific expertise to help ensure high-quality research, while finding new and more efficient ways to improve how we use and care for research animals.  Submissions have more than doubled in recent years.

  • Our Covance Animal Welfare Executive Council, led by our Chief Animal Welfare Officer, VP Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, sets global animal welfare standards in partnership with colleagues and monitors animal welfare performance at Covance globally. 

  • Our Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services works closely with our Operations team and conducts regular audits of all our animal facilities and vendors. 

  • Our global Covance Animal Welfare Executive Council regularly provides global oversight for animal welfare at Covance. 

  • Our Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) and other animal welfare review boards include veterinarians, scientists, members of our professional staff and at least one member of the public. These teams consider whether a study is necessary, and whether animals need to be involved.  They then review and approve or make changes to study designs before any research can begin. They also periodically review Covance’s animal care and use program, inspect our research facilities, and investigate any animal welfare concerns.

  • Covance participates in the voluntary accreditation program of  AAALAC International, which includes triennial on-site visits to ensure that we are meeting or exceeding prescribed standards of policies, animal housing and management, veterinary care and facilities.  

  • We are regularly inspected by animal welfare regulatory authorities 

We constantly strive to improve the range of in vitro testing as an alternative to animal research, and we work with organizations and agencies all over the world, including The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) and others that promote alternative in vitro testing.  At all our research and development sites, we offer in vitro testing from the Discovery phase through to the Pre-Clinical phase of the drug development process. Computer modeling and in vitro, or cell-based, testing can help us distill the plethora of possible compounds down to those few with the best chance of helping patients. Wherever possible, we promote the routine use of in vitro testing and have already replaced some animal testing with in vitro methods.

Whether you are a Covance partner, private citizen or public official, you want to be assured that we are open about our commitment to respectful and caring treatment of research animals.

Transparency about the use and treatment of animals in our care is critical to our relationships with others in the scientific community.

Covance is among the more than 70 original signers of the United Kingdom’s Concordat on Openness on Animal Research. These include pharmaceutical companies, universities, contract research organizations, nonprofit associations, and related organizations.We are committed to abiding by the Concordat’s guidelines and fulfilling its four commitments to enhance our communications about our use of animals.

Our focus on animal welfare extends to the time before they arrive at our facilities. We ensure they are transported by environmentally controlled vehicles or airplanes, and their care during transit is regulated by various agencies throughout the world. We select only those carriers that comply with regulations and have the ability to provide appropriate care. Our staff and Covance veterinarians monitor the carriers to help ensure animal welfare.

Some activities that demonstrate our appreciation for Animal Care and welfare include:

  • Enrichment Committees that focus on ways to enrich our animal’s quality of life through environmental improvements, food and treats, and toys and puzzles.
  • Global 3 R’s recognition program. 
  • Compassion Fatigue Committees devoted to supporting staff.  Creation of Memory Gardens by staff to provide an area for reflection and to commemorate the animals they have worked with. 
  • Adoption program where retired canines and felines find homes with employees.
Photo of an adopted dog