Alternatives to Animal Research

Alternatives to Animal Research

This page provides guidance and training resources to members of the research community interested in developing alternatives to animals in fundamental research and testing. These can be innovative methods to entirely replace the need for an animal model, or the replacement of an animal product in an assay or procedure (e.g. animal derived antibodies for immunoassay).

In pursuing animal replacement alternatives, the following methods have been proposed:

  • Data storage & sharing
  • Physical/chemical modelling + predictions
  • Mathematical & computer models, informatics
  • "Lower" organisms (e.g. yeast)
  • Cell culture - human ex vivo methods
  • Human studies (from: Balls M. (1994). Laboratory Animals, 28:193-211)

Leist et al. (2012) provide a review of alternatives to animals for testing and research.

We are the Australian contact for SYRCLE (SYstematic Review Center for Laboratory animal Experimentation), an alternatives research centre located in the Netherlands at the University Medical Centre, St Radboud University Nijmegen.

There is research expertise for the above alternatives at the ANU, and via our national and international collaborative network.


ANU expertise


International Links and Collaborators


How to get help?

  • For advice on the 3Rs and alternative strategies to reduce or replace animals in research and testing, please contact Dr Brett Lidbury (Associate Professor and Alternatives Advisor to ANU Animal Ethics Committee) at or phone on 6125 7875.
  • Advice and assistance includes guidance on grant applications, data acquisition and human ethics. 


Resources to Support Alternatives Research:

  • ALTBIB - Via the National Library of Medicine (United States)
  • ALTEX - International journal of "Alternatives to Animal Experimentation" (2018 Impact Factor = 6.183)
  • ANZCCART - Booklets with animal replacement ideas for research and teaching
  • ARRIVE - Guidelines and checklist for the reporting of research using animals in publications (UK, endorsed by ANZCCART) - updated 2019
  • ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals, United Kingdom)
  • NC3Rs (UK) - Many excellent resources and information available via this site. Go to the "Our Resources" link at the top of the NC3Rs home page for guidance on experimental design, sampling, ARRIVE and more.
  • PREPARE - Guidelines and checklist for planning animal research and testing (UK, endorsed by ANZCCART)
  • Reduction in experimental design - a short, interactive, online course for research scientists working with laboratory animals. The aim is to reduce the number of animals which are used, improve the quality of the science, and save time, money and other scientific resources.


Useful Publications

These publications contribute to the debate on whether the use of animals as research models in the biomedical field are valuable and justified.

Page owner: Research Services