Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every three months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

Links to the full text for publications that appear in open access journals or are published on the AWI website are provided under the abstract.

Tips for using the database:

  • This landing page displays all of the publications in the database.
  • Use the drop-down menus to filter these publications by Animal Type and/or Topic.
  • Clicking on a parent category (e.g., Rodent) will include publications relating to all the items in that category (e.g., Chinchilla, Gerbil, Guinea pig, etc.).
  • You may also add a keyword to further narrow your search.
  • Please note that at this time, only publications dated 2010 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Animal Type and Topic. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

Arabella Gray discusses the latest evidence of the negative impact of aversive‐based training methods on companion dog welfare.

This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

Dog training methods range broadly from those using mostly positive punishment and negative reinforcement (aversive-based) to those using primarily positive reinforcement (reward-based). Although aversive-based training has been strongly criticized for negatively affecting dog welfare, there...

Clicker training has been a popular form of training for decades and is used in zoos, aquariums, and shelters. Only a handful of studies have investigated the efficacy of the clicker-training method itself despite its...

The impact of behavioural disorders on animal welfare in modern animal husbandry has been much debated. While other abnormal behaviours have been explored at length, there are a paucity of studies on tail-biting in rabbits...

Reinforcer effectiveness refers to the reinforcer’s ability to control the subject’s target behaviour and is therefore critical to training success. Yet animals’ preferences, and the effectiveness of different rewards to function as reinforcers, are often...

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

The methods by which dogs are trained vary between methods involving mainly negative reinforcement and positive punishment (aversive-based methods) and methods based essentially in positive reinforcement and negative punishment (reward-based methods). However, the use of...

In the attempt to verify clicker training efficacy in shaping dogs’ novel behaviours, we studied 51 domestic dogs. Learning was evaluated in three different conditions: when the primary reinforcer (food) was presented in association with...

Training is recognised as important for laboratory animals, both to improve welfare and increase the efficiency of conducting husbandry and regulated procedures. Despite the acknowledged need for such training in the laboratory-housed dog and the...

This is the third volume of discussions that took place on the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF). This forum is dedicated to the exchange of personal experiences of refining the conditions under which...

Reptiles and amphibians have been neglected in research on cognition, emotions, sociality, need for enriched and stimulating environments, and other topics that have been greatly emphasized in work on mammals and birds. This is also...

While clinical reptile medicine as a science is in its ascendancy among veterinary surgeons and other interested groups, familiarity with the often related issue of reptilian behavioural and psychological health appears less common. Behavioural change...

There is increased regulatory emphasis on positive reinforcement training for husbandry, research procedures, and restraint devices. We practice acclimation, association, and positive reinforcement training with our beagle colony with goals to reduce stress for dogs...

Despite growing interest in promoting positive welfare, rather than just alleviating poor welfare, potential measures of good welfare, and means to provide it, have remained elusive. In humans social support improves stress-coping abilities, health, and...

The use of dogs in research has been under increasing public scrutiny and criticism over the past several years, and our institution has been no exception. Of particular concern is the use of Class B...

Investigators using companion animals for research are often faced with the dilemma of what to do with healthy animals when a study is complete. At our institution, it is not uncommon for investigators to submit...

The Guide for the Care and Use of Animals and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) outline minimum space requirements for laboratory animals, including rabbits. These documents encourage housing of animals in enclosures that allow...

Restricted experience in early life is known to contribute to long-lasting predispositions to fear and anxiety in mammals. It is commonplace for young domestic dogs not to experience many features of the environment in which...

The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...

This article provides details to consider when preparing to use animals in biomedical research. The stress of transport and receipt of animals into a new environment mandate the need for a period of stabilization and...

Understanding the range of behaviors, behavioral choices, and cognitive stimulation that cats and dogs exhibit under non-laboratory conditions can increase the ability of investigators to predict which enrichments are likely to be the most successful...

Amphibians and reptiles differ in many respects from the mammals and birds most commonly used in biomedical research. These differences affect the physical and biological requirements of amphibians and reptiles in captivity. In this contribution...

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