A Subsection of the Mars Scientific Research and Engagement Policy
Rigorous science is at the core of what we do at Mars: it informs our products, services and innovation, and helps deliver our goal of offering the quality products and services our consumers and customers love. To maintain consumer trust, we must work with integrity and transparency.
In the day-to-day development of our products and services we do not undertake, support or sponsor studies that harm animals. Developing scientifically sound products and services for pets and people is an indispensable part of our business. This means we carry out scientific research with dogs, cats, fish and horses to further our understanding of their biology and behavior and use the knowledge we gain to improve their lives through the high-quality products and services we provide. We conduct that research to the highest welfare and ethical standards.
Clinical Studies In Veterinary Health
Clinical studies are an important component of increasing medical knowledge, advancing veterinary practice, and improving animal health. Within our Veterinary Health division, we routinely conduct clinical studies involving client-owned pets. The best interest of the pet, the desires of the pet’s owners, and the mutually agreed-upon course of treatment between the owner and veterinarian set the standard of care for both routine veterinary treatment and clinical studies. No pet is ever enrolled in a clinical study as a possible portion of the pet’s treatment without the express, written consent of the pet owner.
Mars has incorporated globally relevant recommendations such as those of the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), and the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, UK) into the stringent review of clinical studies involving pets, prior to our approval or involvement. Our goal is to lead the industry in meeting and exceeding the guidelines established for owned animal clinical studies.
On very rare occasions, we need to introduce a new raw material that has not been used in foods before. Legal and regulatory requirements compel us to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this new raw material. In other circumstances, we may need to provide safety data on existing ingredients as part of due diligence upon scientific review. In these isolated instances we may sponsor a limited number of studies involving rats, mice, fish and other aquatic species.
Animal Welfare At Mars
Mars is committed to using animals appropriately and responsibly, and complies with international, regional and national laws and regulations, as well as meeting or exceeding industry standards. All Associates within Mars, and all external contractors who perform animal research for us, are required to obey these laws at all times, and to conduct their research by applying high standards of welfare and respect for the animals in their care.
We apply the widely accepted “3R’s” principle of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement to the design of all our animal studies. This means that, wherever possible, we look to replace animal studies with non-animal approaches that meet regulatory requirements, ensure we use only 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.
At Mars we’re proud of the mechanisms we’ve put in place to ensure high standards of animal care. In 2007, we established the Mars Research Review Board, an international body of internal and external experts, to oversee our research, and the research of our partners, to ensure it complies with this policy and that we maintain the highest ethical standards when conducting studies involving animals. The Mars Research Review Board also ensures that we only support university educational initiatives that are fully in line with our policy.
When carrying out collaborative research with external groups, Mars stipulates animal welfare provisions in all contractual agreements. We will only carry out collaborative research with institutions that comply with our animal welfare and ethics standards. All projects funded wholly or partly by Mars research funding awards must comply with Mars ethics, and the research must not inflict suffering, harm or result in the euthanasia of the animals involved. All clinical studies must have informed owner consent. Mars has a formal auditing process in place for contractors and animal breeders. Within the Mars business, research studies are reviewed by animal ethics and welfare bodies and clinical studies by veterinary ethics committees.
In response to a health and safety emergency, the Mars Research Review Board may approve appropriate and limited exceptions to this policy.