Animal Welfare Is Vital to Achieving High-Quality Results

Like many of you who visit this website, we care deeply about animals and strive to treat them humanely and respectfully ­– always. 

Ensuring proper care and treatment of our research animals is the right thing to do and critical to our business.

A healthy research animal that is properly cared for will provide more reliable scientific results. Achieving the best possible results helps to ensure the safety of new medicines for patients, as well as for pets, livestock and other animals. To improve quality of life, we provide enrichment activities, socially arranged housing, and playtime for the animals in our care.


We employ more than 30 veterinarians with expertise and experience in ensuring the health and well-being of the animals. To help ensure animal welfare, a veterinarian is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at each of our animal facilities. Our experienced, highly qualified operations managers and support staff focus exclusively on ensuring the safety and well-being of the animals, every day.

All Covance employees who work with laboratory animals must complete extensive training to ensure proper management and care. This training includes

  • An overview of industry standards and all applicable regulations that govern animal care and use
  • The basic needs of each species
  • How to humanely and safely hold the animals
  • How to observe animals for signs of pain, distress or health issues

We work diligently to ensure that we – and our suppliers – adhere to all applicable animal welfare government regulations. In our more than 30 years of animal research, we have maintained an excellent record of compliance with animal welfare regulations, including the European Council Directive 2010/63/EU, the U.S. Animal Welfare Act and the requirements set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

European Union regulations, for example, mandate that all research involving animals conducted in Europe be vetted by government agencies to confirm that animal research is the only alternative currently available. 

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.

Three years before the European Commission issued its current regulations on animal habitats, we increased the size of the pens for primates living in our labs in Germany in order to provide them with a more comfortable setting.


We bring our unique perspective to all aspects of improving animal welfare. For example, we developed an industry-recognized best practice for nonhuman primate housing and a minimally invasive procedure for conducting electrocardiograms in dogs, testing that is required for cardiovascular assessment of new drugs. Both of these innovations have been recognized by awards from a major pharmaceutical company.

Covance employees Jane Edwards and  Michael Taschwer accepted the awards on behalf of their teams for innovations that improved animal welfare and advanced the 3Rs by reducing the number of animals used in testing, refining existing scientific and animal care practices, and replacing animal tests where possible.