Replacement as one of the 3R's is defined as the substitution for conscious living higher animals of insentient material.
There are a number of alternative methods that can be used to replace the use of live animals in either all or part of a project. Replacement may be relative, where animals are still required to provide cells or tissue, but experiments are conducted in vitro -
- tissue culture
- perfused organs
- tissue slices
- cellular and
- subcellular fractions
These methods are well suited to studies at the tissue, cellular or subcellular level and, in these circumstances, can be cost-effective and time-saving. They also provide a level of knowledge that complements studies in whole animals.
A number of organisations around the world are working towards the development and validation of replacement methods. Many of them have informative web sites:
Medical Advances Without Animals Trust (MAWA)
Fund for Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME)
The Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM)
UC Davis Center for Animal Alternatives
ALTWEB - news, information, discussion and resources from the field of alternatives to animal testing
Peta International Science Consortium
Alternative databases / searching for alternatives
The ECVAM Search Guide
A detailed guide, developed for untrained database users, to find high quality information on alternatives to the use of animals in research.
Interagency Coordinating Committee on the validation of Animal Models (ICCVAM)
Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) - National Agriculture Library(USA)
National Library of Medicine (USA) - publishes a regular annotated bibliography on alternatives to animal testing
This search engine has been designed to allow searching for alternatives to animal use in research without the need for long instructions or code in the search term. Further information can be found in: Sauer U, Wächter T, Grune B, et al. (2009) Go3R - Semantic internet search engine for alternative methods to animal testing. ALTEX 26(1):17-31.
NB: FRAME and the AWIC sites give guidance on how to search other databases, such as Medline, for information on Replacement Alternatives.