IACUC Alternatives Search Help

This page outlines resources to fulfill the literature search requirement for animal research. More information can be found on the CSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) website at https://vpr.colostate.edu/ricro/iacuc/ .

Why is an Alternatives Search Necessary?

Federal regulations require that investigators assure that the proposed use of animals in research, testing or teaching is not unnecessarily duplicative, and if the proposed use animals involves potentially painful or distressful procedures they also require that investigators consider alternatives to those procedures (see USDA Policy 12). Automated literature searches remain the most effective and efficient method for demonstrating compliance with the requirement.
For all projects please conduct a literature search utilizing terms that would allow you to demonstrate that the proposed animal work is not unnecessarily duplicative of previously documented work.
If your protocol involves procedures at Pain Categories D and E, you must conduct a literature search which demonstrates:

  1. the work is not unnecessarily duplicative of previously documented work
  2. the fewest number of the lowest order of animals will be used to obtain valid results
  3. alternatives to EACH potentially painful/distressful procedure proposed have been sought.

For considerations of each of the three principles above, please enter information on:

  • search range
  • date the search was conducted
  • keywords and Boolean operators used

When conducting the search for the duplication and refinement of the model to reduce the number or lower the species of animal, please consider using terms that describe the research model you are proposing.

For the search for alternatives to painful procedures, in addition to terms describing the painful/distressful procedure (e.g. ovariectomy, abdominal surgery, etc.) or the painful-distressful results of the procedure (e.g. induced infection, inflammation, etc.) please consider additional terms that would reveal possible refinements to the painful procedure (e.g. pain, analgesia, in vitro, or alternatives).
For assistance with alternatives searches, please consult the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center website.

For help constructing a research strategy, contact:

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