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Shell’s disgraceful lab animal experiments

By John Donovan

In 2017, BBC News published an article reporting that Shell had carried out experiments on animals including rabbits, rodents, birds and fish.

Figures previously published on Shell’s own website confirmed that the firm was involved with laboratory experiments on more than 100,000 animals in one year, 2015.

The Scottish Daily Mail says it was more than 400,000 animals in a five-year period – see above right

The Herald reported on the same story.

Shell is trying to fend off revulsion by stating:

“We do not use cats, dogs or monkeys.”

Just birds, fish, rabbits, rats and mice. 


Animal Welfare

Shell is committed to eliminating the need to do testing involving animals. We aim to replace animal testing by suitable alternatives while ensuring that we can continue to innovate, develop and maintain new and safe products and technologies.

Our approach to animal testing is governed by what is called the “3Rs”. This methodology stresses the need to:

  • replace animal tests with alternative methods whenever possible;
  • reduce the number of animals used in any animal tests for which there are no alternative methods; and
  • refine animal test methods to make them as humane as possible.

We are a member of the UK National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, and in the USA we belong to the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing. We also work proactively with other partners in academia and industry to help us achieve the 3Rs, with a particular emphasis on developing viable alternatives to replace animal testing.

Most of the animal testing we carry out uses laboratory-bred rats, mice and fish. We do not use cats, dogs or monkeys. All of our animal testing is carried out at licensed or accredited research facilities where animal welfare standards are enforced by independent inspections. All of our animal testing complies with internationally accepted principles governing good laboratory practice.

You can read annual reports on our animal testing activities, compiled by a panel of independent experts, below.

Animal Welfare panel report

Note: We have made a one-off amendment to the date of this year’s report to bring it in line with other Shell Group annual reports. The Animal Welfare Report for 2015 contains details and data for activity carried out during 2015. Note that this contrasts with previous years where the title year referred to the year of report publication. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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