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We recognise the dilemma of balancing potential animal suffering against, in some cases, the lack of a reliable alternative to ensure that new products are safe for people and the environment. We are working to reduce the number of animals used to test our products, to make test methods as humane as possible, and to replace animal tests wherever possible.
Our industry uses little animal testing. But there are instances where animals are still needed to test the safety of our oil and chemical products.
Our approach in this area is governed by the 3Rs:
- Replace animal tests with alternative methods where possible. We never commission animal testing where there are other reliable means of establishing the safety of products. We belong to several organisations that promote the development of new animal-free testing methods - for example the UK National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research in the UK and the Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing in the USA. We pro-actively collaborate with these organisations and partners in academia and industry to develop new animal-free test methods and use these to ensure that our products are safe for people and the environment.
- Reduce the number of animals used in product safety testing. We reduce the number of animals used– without compromising safety - by working with other companies whenever possible and by sharing our results.
- Refine test methods to make them as humane as possible. Tests we currently commission mainly use laboratory-bred rats, mice and fish and do not involve cats, dogs or monkeys. We commission safety testing only at licensed or accredited research facilities, where animal welfare standards are enforced by independent inspection. Laboratories must also comply with the internationally accepted operating principles of good laboratory practice.
A panel of external experts, assisted by Shell representatives, reviews and comments on our animal testing standard, management processes, and progress made on our aim to reduce the amount of animal testing.