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. 

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...

Shelter environments are stressful for dogs, as they must cope with many stimuli over which they have little control. This can lead to behavioural changes, negatively affect their welfare and downgrade the human‐animal bond, affecting...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

Worldwide, millions of dogs are held in kennels for extended periods of time and may experience compromised welfare. Enrichment, often using toys, is considered important to minimize the negative impacts of kennelling. However, the value...

It is increasingly required that non-human animals in laboratories are provided with adequate enrichment to promote the welfare of the animals. In a previous publication we showed that laboratory dogs intensively used the horn of...

Music therapy yields many positive health outcomes in humans, but the effects of music on the health and welfare of nonhuman animals vary greatly with the type of music played, the ethology of the species...

The aim of this research was to evaluate the possible usefulness of mirrors in improving rabbit behavior in a free-range breeding system. Three groups (each consisting of nine replicates of three animals) were compared: isolated...

Some otherwise non-aggressive dogs may display fear-induced aggression under stressful conditions. Admittance to an animal shelter is a stressful experience for dogs, and aggression is often used as a criterion by shelters for precluding opportunities...

Heart rate variability (HRV), the variability between subsequent heart beats, is a measure of autonomic tone, influenced by psychophysiological factors, neurohormonal mechanisms and cardiac disease. Auditory stimulation, specifically classical music, has been documented to benefit...

A recent discussion on the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) focused on new enrichment ideas for rabbits. Contributors shared their experiences about which toys and treats get rave reviews from rabbits.

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

A three-week enrichment preference study trialling different substrates, food and pen structures was carried out in three, group-housed female New Zealand White Rabbits (NZW). Preference results: structural - rabbits spent the most time with a...

The beneficial effect of music has been demonstrated in many species. Although commercially available music CDs intended for use with rabbits are available, these enrichments have not been critically evaluated to determine whether they reduce...

Green odour (a mixture of cis-3-hexenol and trans-2-hexenal), similar to cut grass, has been demonstrated to appease subjects of various species (rats, cattle, humans etc.) subjected to different stressful stimuli. The aim of this study...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...

Comfortable resting areas for laboratory dogs have been recommended by many authors and by the European Directive 2010/63/EU. They are particularly important for geriatric dogs for age- and health-related reasons. Systematic research in this area...

Many domestic dogs are kept in rescue and rehoming shelters which are frequently stressful and under-stimulating environments. Dog welfare is often compromised within these environments and there is a need to determine new practical and...

Over-activity, or excessive locomotion and barking in the kennel, may be unattractive to adopters and an indicator of poor welfare of kenneled dogs. The study assessed the efficacy of two common enrichment strategies, providing calm...

Classical music has been shown to reduce stress in kennelled dogs; however, rapid habituation of dogs to this form of auditory enrichment has also been demonstrated. The current study investigated the physiological and behavioural response...

Since the antibody production facility at Envigo RMS opened in 2015 we have been offering our rabbits a variety of disposable and non-disposable enrichment in a floor pen arrangement. There is a perception that our...

Although social enrichment can be considered beneficial in helping dogs cope with the kennel environment, when taking individual needs into account, it places a large demand on the carers and may not be appropriate in...

Although the number of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) produced in Europe is important, they are under-represented in welfare research. Studies on the effects of housing conditions have focused on performance and mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis...

Rabbits are gregarious animals that live in social groups in the wild so individually housing our animals, while meeting the present scientific objectives, restricts their natural social behaviour. How to meet the social needs of...

Domestic dogs are often kept in kennelled environments. These may be stressful, and impact negatively upon welfare, due to unpredictable variations in space, social interaction and noise. Auditory stimulation such as music has been demonstrated...

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