Animal Research Policy

Our Animal Research Policy


We love animals, and we take animal welfare very seriously. Just look at Banfield®, our chain of veterinary clinics that provide veterinary services, preventive pet care and wellness plans. Or our pet innovation centers, where our pets tell us whether they like the food we make, and we can study if it’s nutritious for them. And many of our Associates bring their furry friends to work with them every day. At Mars, animals are part of the family.

That’s why, when we develop our chocolate, gum and confections, food, drinks and petcare supplies, we refuse to undertake, support or sponsor any study that harms animals.

On extremely rare occasions, we might need to introduce a new raw material that has not been used in foods before. If that happens, legal and regulatory requirements require us to demonstrate that the material is safe and effective. In these isolated instances:

  • We might sponsor a limited number of studies involving rats, mice, fish and other aquatic species.
  • We always meet, and in many cases exceed, the legal and regulatory requirements for the humane treatment of animals on local, state and national levels.
  • We apply the widely accepted “3Rs” principle of replacement, reduction and refinement* to the design of these safety and efficacy studies. This means that we do our best to replace animal studies with non-animal approaches that meet regulatory requirements wherever possible, ensure we only use the minimum number of animals necessary to provide scientifically valid results, and constantly review the care provided and the methods used to conduct our studies.


To make sure we and our partners do all that we can to protect the rights of animals, we established the Mars Animal Research Review Board. Since 2007, this international body of internal and external experts has been making sure all research done for Mars complies with this policy. We promise the highest ethical standards when conducting studies involving animals.

The Mars Animal Research Review Board also ensures that we only support university-educational initiatives that are fully in line with our Animal Research policy.

To appropriately and responsibly respond to a health and safety emergency, the Mars Animal Research Review Board may approve exceptions to this policy.

* For more information on the “3Rs” principle, visit The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) website, an independent scientific organization tasked by the U.K. government with supporting the application of the 3Rs.
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