AnimAlt-ZEBET - database for alternative methods to animal experiments

The AnimAlt-ZEBET database is a compilation of methods, which fulfil at least one of the three following criteria:

  • the method can be used to replace animal experiments (Replacement)
  • the number of experimental animals within an experiment is reduced (Reduction)
  • the pain and suffering of the experimental animals are minimised (Refinement)

These criteria correspond to the scientific principle of the "3Rs" for the development of alternative methods to animal experiments, which was established by Russel and Burch and published in 1959 in their book "The Principles of Humane Experimental Techniques".

AnimAlt-ZEBET includes high quality, scientifically recognised alternatives to standard animal tests in the fields of toxicology and pharmacology, as well as basic and applied research. The database has been available free of charge on the Internet since 2000. Update of the database was ceased in 2013. However, it may still be included in any search for alternative methods.

To support a more extensive coverage of experimental in vivo research, information on alternatives to animal experiments currently is compiled as case studies, which are used for the development of an artificial intelligence project (SMAFIRA-project) enabling an algorithm-based retrieval of such methods. Case studies consist of a description of an animal experiment (PubMed-Abstract) and respective examples of candidate alternative methods (PubMed-Abstracts).

By means of the case studies, general rules for the identification of alternative methods will be established and implemented in the SMAFIRA-tool. You can find details regarding our efforts at

Link to AnimAlt-ZEBET database:


AnimAlt-ZEBET contains about 150 documents in English language that were produced by ZEBET-scientists from 1997 to 2012. The database covers certain areas of basic and applied research, and particularly regulatory toxicology and pharmacology. Starting in 2009, the style of documents was adapted to support a direct comparison of animal experiments and candidate alternative methods in terms of scientific purpose and critical components of methodology. Furthermore, a peer review of manuscripts by external experts in experimental (in vivo) biomedicine was established. Documents produced in this manner may still serve as reference in any discussion regarding the relevance of certain candidate alternatives.



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