In order to comply with federal regulations, efforts must be made to insure that PIs, "have considered alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to [lab] animals, and [have] provided a written narrative description of the methods and sources... used to determine that alternatives were not available" (9 CFR § 2.31 2004).
A wealth of information exists on alternative methods for improving animal welfare in research. This information includes methods to avoid or replace the use of live animal, reduce the numbers of animals used per experiment, and refine the research by using methods which minimize animal suffering and improve welfare.
The literature review section of the IACUC protocol differs from the standard research literature review and should focus on the 3Rs in order to demonstrate that your research is not unnecessarily distressful, wasteful, or repetitive. 3Rs information can be found in a number of databases and online web directories including articles, books, and tools for animal and computer models, guidelines for and research into animal husbandry (including caging, handling, and blood sampling), and alternate approaches to commonly-studied diseases.
The literature search is an iterative, multi-step process. You can use the menu to the left to navigate through steps¹. Alternatively, you can use the USDA Alternatives Literature Searching Worksheet linked below.
If you would like discuss your search with the IACUC Research Librarian, we are more than happy to help. We make every effort to respond to your request within 24 hours, but ask for a lead time of two weeks for the completed narrative. Because of recent USDA Inspection Guide changes requiring "a detailed narrative describing the methods and sources used to determine that no alternatives to the painful/distressful procedure are available,” all USDA Category D and E protocols require consulting with the librarian.
* Information adapted from UC Berekely Literature Search for Alternatives Guide
Animal Testing Infographic from Bayer; "Sisters" by Sarah Laval