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. 

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...

Environmental enrichment used in captive animals with goals of increasing the activity, behavioral diversity, utilization of the environment and reducing abnormal behaviors. The present study was designed to determine the springing feeding bottles toy ameliorative...

In animal studies on bone healing, the effect of housing space and physical activity are seldom taken into account. Bone formation was evaluated in New Zealand White rabbits (mean ± SEM BW: 3.9 ± 0.11...

Domestic dogs experience a sensitive period for learning during early life and conditions during this time can have important consequences in the adult. We investigated the effects of kennel environment during early life, comparing the...

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...

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...

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...

In dogs, the social and spatial restriction associated with living in a kennel environment could lead to chronic stress and the development of abnormal behaviors (“kennel-dog syndrome”). However, little is known about how kenneled dogs...

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...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

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...

Animal shelters can be stressful environments and time in care may affect individual dogs in negative ways, so it is important to try to reduce stress and arousal levels to improve welfare and chance of...

The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...

This article gives the recipe for making dog treats. These treats are not only refreshing for dogs, but also easy to make. Mix and match dog friendly fruits and veggies to make many treat varieties.

The Becton Dickinson (BD) Research Animal Care Program has developed an acclimation and enrichment program that has enhanced animal welfare for studies requiring single housing, contributed to a culture of care, increased transparency, and improved...

In Germany, an animal welfare ordinance for the housing of rabbits was issued which did not take into account the current investigations on floor design. The aim of the investigations was to study the effects...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...

The confined environment of the dog shelter, particularly over extensive time-periods can impact severely on welfare. Surveillance and assessment are therefore essential components of the welfare protocol. The aim of this study was to generate...

Cage housing of growing rabbits is associated with welfare concerns. An alternative system that has already been introduced involves pens with non-wire floors. An important aspect of group pens, for which the best solution has...

The aim of the present study was to develop and evaluate a new housing system for fattening rabbits. Data were collected on a farm with rabbits housed either under new conditions (NC) or established (conventional)...

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...

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...

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...

We evaluated the effects of two types of colony cages, in which rabbit does were always in a group (C1), and where they were in combi cages furnished with removable internal walls to allow both...

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