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Animal Alternatives Searching: Home

This guide was designed to aid researchers completing literature searches for animal alternatives as part of the protocol submission and review of NYU's University Animal Welfare Committee (UAWC). 

For additional help, contact Hope Lappen ( for:

  • Consultation to develop search strategies and ongoing alerts. This may be particularly useful for commonly searched methods or topics.
  • Workshops on best practices can be arranged for labs, trainees, or other groups.

Alternatives searches are typically guided by "The 3Rs"*

Replacement  Methods that replace animals in research with non-animal models or with a lower species

  • Reuse of data from previous experiments (literature searches, data sets, systematic reviews)
  • In vitro methods such as tissue engineering
  • Computer models or simulations
  • Replacing a species with one with lower neuro-physiological development (vertebrate to invertebrate)

Reduction  Methods that allow researchers to minimize the number of animals used in research, while allowing results to remain statistically significant

  • Species and strain selection to find the best model for the scientific objective
  • Careful experimental design to limit variation and determine an appropriate sample size
  • Storing and sharing tissues and data

Refinement  Methods that alleviate or reduce potential pain and distress or that contribute to animal welfare over the animal’s lifetime

  • Careful species and strain selection
  • Behavioral enrichment
  • Pain management
  • Humane endpoints

*Russell, W.M.S. and Burch, R.L., (1959). The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, Methuen, London. ISBN 0900767782

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