Information on Alternatives Databases

in the spirit of the three R's

Our theme: Sharing and Collaboration across Borders

A joint initiative following the ECVAM Workshop on Alternatives Databases in Neubiberg, Munich, September 1996 and the 2nd World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, Utrecht, October 1996

This site is one of the services provided by:

Veterinary School's logo

The Norwegian Reference Centre for
Laboratory Animal Science & Alternatives

Web pages compiled by Adrian Smith, Hans Kuiper and Margot van der Kamp


A Workshop was held in Neubiberg, a suburb of Munich, Germany, to bring together those working on alternatives databases. The Workshop was hosted by the Akademie für Tierschutz which is a part of of the Deutscher Tierschutzbund ( German Animal Welfare Federation ). The Workshop was chaired by Margot van der Kamp of the Netherlands Centre for Alternatives to Animal Use (NCA), and funded by ECVAM (The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods). An overview of the participants and a group photograph are available (if you would like a larger photograph, click here).
The official proceedings have been published as an ECVAM Workshop Report, both as an article in the journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals), published by FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) and as a separate reprint. The report from the Workshop is available here on the Altweb site at CAAT (see below).
Further details from:

ECVAM, TP 580, JRC Environment Institute, 21020 Ispra (Va), Italy
Telephone: +39 332 785 570
Telefax: +39 332 789 963


FRAME, Russell & Burch House, 96-98 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham NG1 4EE, England
Telephone: +44 115 958 4740
Telefax: +44 115 950 3570

A similar initiative was undertaken simultaneously in the United States. This resulted in a meeting being held on 23rd October 1996 during the 2nd World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, which was arranged in Utrecht, The Netherlands, from 20th to 24th October 1996. The purpose of the meeting was 'to discuss the formation of a multi-national federation to develop a global network of linked alternatives (Three Rs) databases'. All Congress participants currently developing an alternatives database in any discipline (research, testing, education) or who have expertise in database development and who would like to participate in this worldwide project were invited.
The overview presented below is a combination of the conclusions reached at the Neubiberg workshop and the resources presented at the Utrecht meeting.

A similar site is being developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Click here to go to their site called Altweb: Alternatives to Animal Testing on the Web.

Please note:

The compilers of these pages have tried to present a complete overview of the alternatives databases available at the time of writing. The order of citation is arbitrary and does not represent any attempt to rank the various efforts by importance. Our aim is to acknowledge all efforts to implement the three R's of Russell & Burch (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal experiments)
Likewise, any omissions are unintentional.
Please send details of omissions or factual errors, or any other comments you may have, to:

Professor Adrian Smith, Laboratory Animal Unit, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, P.O. Box 8146 Dep., 0033 Oslo, Norway.

Telephone: +47 22 96 45 74
Telefax: +47 22 96 45 35

We will update this overview accordingly.

Overview of alternatives databases

The Neubiberg workshop proposed the following classification system for databases and other resources that promote the three R's of Russell & Burch.

1. databases on replacement alternatives
2. databases on reduction alternatives
3. databases on refinement alternatives
4. database on methodologies including their protocols
5. databases on educational subjects
6. databases on test results
7. databases on QSAR
8. databases on for validation/evaluation purposes
9. databases on experts
10. databases on possible funding
11. databases on regulations/guidelines
12. databases on projects on alternatives

An attempt has been made below to classify the databases according to this list (numbers in brackets after the database name).

Recent Additions

Akademie für Tierschutz




Federal Veterinary Office, Bern




ILAR Guide


The MEIC project





Tree of Life

UC Center of Alternatives

University of Amsterdam


WCA abstracts

The ZEBET database

Akademie für Tierschutz, Germany (1, 3, 6, 7)

The Akademie für Tierschutz is part of the Deutscher Tierschutzbund e.V.( German Animal Welfare Federation ).
The Akademie has established a bibliographical database on alternatives. Print-outs are published in hard copy in German as the "Gelbe Liste". The database contains about 15,000 references. The database is available via PREX, or on floppy disc, but the Akademie also answers individual queries.
Further details from:
Roman Kolar, Akademie für Tierschutz, Spechtstrasse 1, D-85579 Neubiberg, Germany
Telephone: +49 89 603008
Telefax: +49 89 601 7078


APHIS (Animal and Plant Inspection Health Service), a division of the US Department of Agriculture, has its own home page.

AVAR (1,3,5)

The Alternatives in Education Database hosted by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) contains thousands of entries of alternatives to the harming or killing of animals at many levels of education.

Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) (3)

Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) is part of the National Agricultural Library, U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Center (AWIC) was established by the United States Congress in 1986 with the mandate to acquire and disseminate information on alternatives and improved methodologies for the humane care, use, and handling of all animals in research, testing, and education.

The Center provides a variety of information and referral services, including computerized literature searching, expert referral, document delivery, and the acquisition, production, and maintenance of materials pertinent to the topic of animal welfare.

The National Agricultural Library maintains a collection of books, journals, newsletters, proceedings, reports, news articles, slides, films, and video recordings relevant to the various topics addressed by the Center. The Library provides access to these materials via photocopy and interlibrary loans.

AWIC publishes a series of bibliographic reference products, a quarterly newsletter, resource guides, listings, and other publications related to animal welfare. Currently, all publications are supplied free of charge.

AWIC provides online information retrieval services from the National Agricultural Library's AGRICOLA database and selected databases available through DIALOG. (Note that AGRICOLA is available from other sources e.g. in CD form from Silver Platter and from PREX in the Netherlands). Users, with the exception of U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel, may be billed for information support services in excess of one hour of staff time or $25 in online computer costs.

Of special note is Care-CD, an information product recently completed by Mike Kreger of the AWIC staff. This is a CD ROM that contains 169 documents. Most of these are the full text of U.S. Federal documents that are relevant to animal care in research and testing settings. In addition, the CD contains guidelines and statements from various professional organizations, among them the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals produced by ILAR (see below), books, manuals, and training manuals for laboratory personnel; 35 bibliographies, resource guides, newsletter issues, fact sheets from AWIC and 18 zoo animal bibliographies. The disk (stock #001-000-04634-9) can be purchased from:

U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents
PO Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954

The cost is $35.00 for those in the U.S. International customers need to add 25% additional money for handling. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

Many of the AWIC documents are also available in full text from the AWIC web site.

For additional information or to contact a staff member, AWIC can be reached in the following ways:

Animal Welfare Information Center
10301 Baltimore Avenue,
Maryland 20705-2351

Tel: +1-301-504-6212
Fax: +1-301-504-7125

AWIC contact: Jean Larson, Coordinator

Federal Veterinary Office, Bern, Switzerland (1, 2, 4, 7)

The documentation service of the Department of Animal Experimentation and Alternative Methods (STA) maintains a database of all animal experiments performed in Switzerland since 1992. There is no public access to this information, but information is provided from a 2000-record database of literature on husbandry, alternatives and the ethics of animal experimentation.
Further details from:
Michelle Howald, Swiss Federal Veterinary Office, Animal Welfare Division, Animal Expermentation and Alternative Methods Section, Schwarzenburgstrasse 161, CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 31 323 8563
Telefax: +41 31 323 8570


ECVAM has developed a database known as SIS (Scientific Information Service) to support validation studies carried out under their auspices. This will initially provide information on test development, prevalidation, test protocols and test chemicals, data and data analysis, background documentation and the progress of regulatory access. Some public access may later be permitted to data on completed studies. A hotline datalink for exchange of data via the Internet between participating laboratories is also planned, as is a register of scientists working in the area of in vitro pharmatoxicology.
Further details from:
Annett Janusch, ECVAM, JRC Environmental Institute, I-21020 Ispra (VA), Italy
Telephone: +39 332 785 570
Telefax: +39 332 789 963

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration has developed a database called FIRST (FDA Information Retrieval System). They have plans for the release of a CD-ROM containing information on drug carcinogenicity studies.

The Galileo databank (4)

The Galileo databank collects toxicology data of alternative studies, mostly related to the field of cosmetics testing. The databank contains factual data on over 800 ingredients, over 300 cosmetic formulations, 50 methods, 26 animal models and over 100 biosystems, with a total of nearly 21,000 individual results. The databank is not currently available online, but printouts are sent to enquirers.
Further details from:
Gregorio Loprieno, Technical Services SAS,Via Vecchia Lucchese 59, I-56123 Pisa, Italy
Telephone: +39 50 555 685
Telefax: +39 50 555 687

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, National Research Council, USA

ILAR has published the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. This Guide is also available on the Care-CD to be released by AWIC in late October (see below). ILAR is planning to place its own database of resources online in the future.


This service provides protocols for methods of in vitro toxicity testing at a level of detail not normally found in the published literature. The 114 available protocols include SOP's from recent validation studies coordinated by ECVAM. A total of 650 scientists, mainly from academia and industry, are registered to use the services of INVITTOX. INVITTOX has been funded by DGXI and by ECVAM, and the service is due to be transferred from FRAME in England to ECVAM in Italy. INVITTOX has also a web site.
Further details from:
Krys Ungar, FRAME / INVITTOX, Russell & Burch House, 96-98 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham NG1 4EE, England
Telephone: +44 115 958 4740
Telefax: +44 115 950 3570

The MEIC project (4)

The MEIC project (Multicentre Evaluation of In vitro Cytotoxicology) has involved 50 laboratories using 96 in vitro methods to test the toxicity of between 20 and 50 defined chemicals. The results are in the process of being published in ATLA and will also be available via the Internet. MEIC has also collected data on time-related high survived and lethal blood concentrations from cases of human poisoning and has published this information in a monograph for each test chemical to facilitate in vitro and in vivo comparison.
Further details from:
Bjørn Ekwall, CTLU, Pavals, När, S-62013 Stånga, Sweden
Telephone: +46 498 492259

The Netherlands Centre for Alternatives to Animal Use (NCA)

The The Netherlands Centre for Alternatives to Animal Use (NCA) is in the process of setting up a database on the development and validation of alternative methods. The Centre plans to make an overview of the in vitro methods currently being employed in the Netherlands. The NCA publishes a newsletter.
Further details from:
Jan van der Valk, The Netherlands Centre for Alternatives to Animal Use, Yalelaan 17, NL-3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands
Telephone: +31 30 253 2186
Telefax: +31 30 253 9227

The NORINA database of audiovisuals and other alternatives in education (1,3,5)

NORINA (A Norwegian Inventory of Alternatives) provides information on over 3500 audiovisual aids and other alternatives such as computer programs to the use of animals or animal products in teaching, at all levels from junior school to university. NORINA is available online on the Internet. There is a mirror site, in Sydney, Australia.
For more information please contact Karina Smith (email:

The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW)

The OLAW, or Office of Laboratoy Animal Welfare, implements the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The OLAW was previously known as OPRR-NIH (The Office of Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes of Health). The OLAW is located organizationally at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland; however, OLAW's responsibility for laboratory animal welfare extends beyond the NIH to all PHS supported activities involving animals. Compliance with the PHS Policy is a prerequisite to receiving PHS (including NIH and FDA) funds for research involving laboratory animals. The Policy requires institutional animal care and use programs to be consistent with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Institutions must also submit an acceptable Animal Welfare Assurance to OLAW, establish an appropriate Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee with authority to review the institutional program and individual protocols, and monitor the program and use of animals on a regular basis. Specific OLAW responsibilities for laboratory animal welfare include: implementation of the PHS Policy; interpretation of the PHS Policy; negotiation of Animal Welfare Assurances; evaluation of compliance with the PHS Policy; and education of institutions and investigators receiving PHS support. OLAW is also responsible for the Department of Health and Human Services' regulations for the protection of human research subjects.

The PREX collection of databases (1, 2, 3)

PREX is a collection of over 20 databases containing information of relevance to Laboratory Animal Science and Alternatives. The databases include MEDLINE, CAB Abstracts and Agricola, together with a number of smaller specialized databases such as the alternatives database of the Akademie für Tierschutz and NORINA. An annual subscription gives access to all the databases, with no extra charge other than user connection costs.
Several of the other databases referred to below are available via subscription to PREX. This is referred to where applicable.
The PREX database collection can be accessed via the Internet using Telnet. Full access requires a subscription. Some of the databases may however be accessed free of charge (but without the possibility of downloading information) at the following Telnet address:
Log in as: guest (N.B. lower case)
Password: guest (N.B. lower case)

For further information, contact:
Utrecht University,
P.O. Box 80166,
NL-3508 TD Utrecht,
The Netherlands
Telephone: +31 30 253 1583
Telefax: +31 30 253 6747

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is an Internet project containing information about phylogeny and biodiversity. It is designed to illustrate the diversity of living organisms, and to link biological information available on the Internet in the form of a phylogenetic navigator.

University of Amsterdam

Dr. Henk van Wilgenburg is developing a database. More details will be added here.

University of California Center for Animal Alternatives (1, 2, 3,)

The UC Center for Animal Alternatives serves the animal care community of the University of California's nine campuses and laboratories, focussing mainly on alternatives in education and the issues surrounding the third R, Refinement. It also acts as a referral service, providing information on how best to search for required information. The Center publishes a newsletter, UC Alert, and guides to information resources.
These last guides include: Alternatives in Higher Education, Internet Resources, Bibliographies and Recommended Journals.
Further details from:
Mary W. Wood, UC Center for Alternatives, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis CA 95616-8684, USA
Telephone: +1 916 752 9016
Telefax: +1 916 754 8608

VetBase (3, 4)

VetBase is a database of literature references to over 12,000 doses of drugs for 800 veterinary drugs in 130 species. The species covered include traditional farm and laboratory animals, zoo species, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Doses for primates are excluded. Over 4500 of these doses concern the relief or prevention of pain. The doses are derived from British, American, French, German and Dutch sources (journal articles, books, conference proceedings etc.). They are included whether they are licensed for use for a particular species or not. The classification of the drugs is an adapted version of the Anatomical Therapeutical Classification System for veterinary medical products, which classifies by site of action, therapeutic effects and chemical characteristics. Generic drug names are used exclusively.

VetBase is produced by Dr. Hans Kuiper and Dr. H.J. Kuiper in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The database is a custom-made MS-Windows application, requiring Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. A free demo of VetBase for IBM Windows is now available. The demo is fully functional for a limited range of drugs (anthelmintics in rodents). Searches for other drug categories return the number of references that the full version contains.

The demo can be downloaded here.

This file (1.2 MB) must be unpacked using the shareware program pkunzip. Type 'pkunzip' on your local computer. Then run the vbsetup.exe program and follow the instructions on the screen.

The abstract database from the 2nd World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7)

The World Congress was held in Utrecht, The Netherlands, from Monday 20th to Thursday 24th October 1996. A database containing all the abstracts of presentations at the Congress is available for IBM Windows machines. The database may be downloaded from our server. This file (1070 kB) must be unpacked using the shareware program pkunzip. Type 'pkunzip' on your local computer. Then run the Setup.exe program and follow the instructions on the screen.

The database has been constructed by Dr. Hans Kuiper (email: of the PREX project.

The ZEBET database (1, 2, 3, 4)

The ZEBET database contains documentation on about 300 alternatives in all fields of biomedicine and contains a total of about 4000 bibliographical references. ZEBET is used to provide advice and information to scientists and animal welfare officers during the process of licensing applications for animal experimentation. In controversial cases, ZEBET makes an official statement to the regional authorities which may be used in court cases. ZEBET also handles more general queries on alternatives from all sectors of society. A trial is in progress to investigate the feasibility of offering public access to the database through DIMDI.
Further details from:
Barbara Grune-Wolff, ZEBET, Postfach 33 00 13, D-14195 Berlin, Germany
Telephone: +49 30 84122 271
Telefax: +49 30 84 122 958

The following literature reference is also recommended:
Alternatives to animal testing: information resources via the internet and world wide web, by P.J. Hakkinen and D.K. Green, published in Toxicology, Vol. 173(1-2), 3-11, April 2002.

Supporting organizations and companies

The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

CAAT is one of the organizations participating in the initiative to create a global consortium of information on alternatives databases. They have their own home page.
CAAT is developing a database on antibody production.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

The Humane Society of the United States is one of the organizations participating in the initiative to create a global consortium of information on alternatives databases. The HSUS is the United States' largest animal protection organization. Their youth education division, the NAHEE (National Association for Humane and Environmental Education), and the international organization HSI (Humane Society International) are described in more detail here.

Laboratory Animals Ltd.

Publisher of Laboratory Animals, the international journal of laboratory science and welfare. The journal has its own home page.

This page is provided by the server of the Laboratory Animal Unit, at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Oslo.