Alternatives to using animals

The Code requires that techniques which totally or partly replace the use of animals in research and teaching must be used wherever possible. The following list presents a range of options to help reduce or replace animal use. Sources such as these should be carefully reviewed when planning work that might involve animals.

Expertise at the University of Sydney

Many techniques advocated as alternatives to the use of animals are well-established at the University of Sydney. These include human trials, epidemiology, cell culture, DNA techniques, tissue banks, computer modeling and autopsies. The availability of this expertise and infrastructure should provide many researchers with a range of non-animal options to consider before proceeding towards animal-based work.

Medical Advances Without Animals (MAWA Trust)

The MAWA Trust is an Australian initiative which works closely with the research community in a positive environment to promote alternatives to the use of animals. A range of substantial grants are offered.


Altweb is a comprehensive database of alternatives to animal use. Highly recommended when preparing AEC applications.

Serum-free culture media

The use of fetal calf serum for in vitro cell culture has raised concerns because of the possible welfare impact. Possible alternatives to fetal calf serum can be found at Serum-free culture media and Focus on alternatives

National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research(NC3Rs)

NC3Rs is a major, multi-disciplinary effort to advance the 3Rs through improved education, research and public information.

Alternatives in education

InterNICHE is a comprehensive, online network for bringing together information on alternatives to the use of animals in education.

European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM)

ECVAM is a major initiative by the European Commission with a particular emphasis on reducing animal use in the regulatory testing of new products. A similar organization, NICEATM-ICCVAM, has been established in the USA.


Altox is highly informative site on the use of animals in toxicological testing. Overseen by an independent board to maintain objectivity, AltTox is a good example of the pharmaceutical industry and animal protection community working towards common goals.

Animals Ethics Infolink

Animal Ethics Infolink is a NSW Department of Primary Industries and Animal Research Review Panel initiative. It provides a comprehensive list of alternatives to animal use.