From: USDA APHIS Animal Care Policy Manual, Policy #12:

“Consideration of alternatives to each procedure which may cause pain or distress must state sources consulted, such as Biological Abstracts, Index Medicus, Medline, the Current Research Information Service (CRIS), and the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC).

The minimal written narrative should include: the databases searched or other sources consulted, the date of the search and the years covered by the search, and the key words and/or search strategy used by the Principal Investigator when considering alternatives or descriptions of other methods and sources used to determine that no alternatives were available to the painful or distressful procedure. The narrative should be such that the IACUC can readily assess whether the search topics were appropriate and whether the search was sufficiently thorough.

Reduction, replacement, and refinement (the three R’s) must be addressed, not just animal replacement.”

See the source document in HTML at the USDA/APHIS/Animal Care website (the listing of all Policies is at The document can also be accessed at