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Animal Alternatives in Research: Home

Provides information about the Animal Welfare Act and information about alternatives to animals in research.

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Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport and by dealers. For more information about the law, see the Animal Welfare Information Center.

The Animal Welfare Act requires that principle investigators consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to the animals and provide a written narrative of the methods used and sources consulted to determine the availability of alternatives including refinements, reductions and replacements. Principle investigators must also provide wirtten assurance that their research activities do not unnecessarily dupllicate previous experiments.

When a database search is the primary means of meeting this requirement, the narrative must, at a minimum, include:
1. the names of the databases searched;
2. the date the search was performed;
3. the period covered by the search; and
4. the key words and/or the search strategy used.

(From USDA Selected Animal Care Policies, Policy #12, Alternatives to Painful/Distressful Procedures, June 21, 2000)

The National Institutes of Health Library lists the following "Red Flags" to an INADEQUATE database search:

Only 1 database searched.
Terms only for painful aspects.
The term "alternative" used alone with no other alternative terms.
Keywords listed not relevant to protocol.
Keywords and concepts linked in an incorrect manner.
Search doesn't cover adequate time period.