Western Libraries

Animal Alternatives Searching

This guide provides suggestions on resources and searching strategies to be used by Western researchers for ensuring a rigorous investigation of alternative models when creating an Animal Use Protocol for review by the Animal Care Committee.

Selected Keywords

Terminology for Refinement and Reduction Alternatives

*Refinement alternatives are often found using terms relevant to the area of study.

  • analgesic or analgesia or pain reduction
  • anesthetic or anasthetic or anaesthetic
  • animal welfare or well-being
  • animal model
  • assay or technique or method or procedure
  • biomarker or biological marker
  • environmental enrichment
  • euthanasia
  • experimental or statistical design (pilot study, variation, sample size, etc.)
  • humane endpoint
  • humane handling or humane restraint or humane treatment
  • husbandry, or housing, or handling or caging
  • imaging
  • monitoring device or telemetry device
  • non-invasive
  • pain or stress or distress
  • positive reinforcement or animal training
  • reduce or reduction or refinement

Terminology for Replacement Alternatives

  • Animal testing alternative or animal use alternative or alternative (useful primarily in toxicology and education)
  • Cadaver or carcass
  • Cell culture, cell line
  • Computer aided instruction, computer assisted instruction
  • Computer (simulation or application)
  • Digital imaging
  • In silico
  • Interactive
  • Isolated (cell, tissue, organ)
  • Mannequin, manikin or model (non-animal)
  • Mathematical (biology or model or simulation)
  • Model (animal, cadaveric, interactive, mathematical, statistical, theoretical), modeling (US spelling or modelling (UK spelling)
  • Non-animal model
  • Organ-on-a-Chip
  • Plastinate or plastination
  • Replacement alternatives
  • Simulation or simulator or trainer
  • Software
  • Structure evaluated system
  • Tissue culture or organ culture
  • Tissue engineering
  • Video (disc, display)
  • Virtual (reality)
  • Vitro

*Note: This list of terms in not comprehensive. 

Adapted from the Animal Welfare Information Center. 3Rs Keyword*/Concepts Terminology. https://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/3Rs-terms-examples