Controversial Covance joins Chandler chamber - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Controversial Covance joins Chandler chamber

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Posted: Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:25 am | Updated: 3:01 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Drug-testing giant Covance joined the Chandler Chamber of Commerce last week — but not everyone in the group is welcoming the controversial company with open arms.

“It’s way too early to have an opinion,” said Bill Farretta, a Chandler Realtor for RE/MAX.

Farretta was among several chamber members who recently listened to presentations by representatives of Covance and local opposition group Citizens Against Covance.

The company conducts chemical and pharmaceutical testing on animals as part of its contract laboratory services. The federally required tests have drawn fire from animal rights activists who claim Covance abuses its test animals and poses health risks to nearby communities. The company has repeatedly denied

both claims.

Chamber member Cheryl Yesulis, armed with material from Citizens Against Covance, took issue with a presentation by Covance senior vice president Wendel Barr on Tuesday.

“I’m not against good things coming in,” said Yesulis, who owns a business in Chandler but declined to provide its name. “I just don’t think this would be a good company for the community.”

William Zecco, marketing manager for Flower Frenzy in Chandler, was among chamber members who support Covance.

“I look at it as I’m in favor of any company that would come to the Valley that would boost our economic standing, be an asset to the community . . . help with any aspects that would put Chandler on the map,” he said.

Zecco, who sits on the chamber’s board of directors, said he doubts the organization will take an official stance on Covance’s presence in Chandler. “The only stance the chamber should take is to say Covance should adhere to all federal and local laws,” he said.

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