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. 
Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...
Snake ownership is popular; however, housing and care may not always satisfy the animal's welfare needs. For example, snakes are often kept in environmental conditions that restrict their ability to stretch out fully or move...
Aspects of the laboratory are aversive to mice, such as being housed under bright lights and at temperatures below their thermal comfort, causing stress and poor welfare. While murine thermal preferences are well understood, light...
Social animals commonly establish dominance relationships by means of aggressive interaction, leading to hierarchical stability and priority of access to limited resources by high-ranked individuals. In poikilothermic animals, temperature is a major abiotic factor influencing...
Exposure of sentinel mice to dirty bedding is commonly used in health monitoring programs to screen colonies for clinical and subclinical disease. Despite the potential stressors present in dirty bedding, including but not limited to...
Precise oral dosing in rodents is usually achieved by intragastric gavage. If performed incorrectly due to technical difficulties, inexperience, or animal resistance, oral gavage may have animal welfare implications such as esophageal and gastric rupture...
The research community is committed to improving the well-being of nonhuman primates by providing opportunities to express species-specific behaviors such as foraging. In the wild, macaques spend a large part of their day foraging; this...
Finding and utilizing the specific taste preferences of the rhesus macaque in the laboratory setting can be a valuable step towards promoting cooperative, positively reinforced training. It can also be a wonderful tool for enrichment...
Members of the North American 3Rs Collaborative (NA3RsC) refinement initiative have chosen to summarize developments in five hot topics of interest: 1. Tips for welfare-friendly transport, chairing, and restraint; 2. Guidance on refining food and...
Despite clear benefits of PRT for NHPs and biomedical research, investigators often view the investment in personnel expertise and time required to train animals as deterrents towards adopting PRT. We provide an example of how...
Gel solutions are simple to use, have a relative long shelf life and can be delivered with plastic cups or pouches. A common issue encountered by many institutions is that the gel becomes soiled quickly...
Zebrafish, like all fish species, use sound to learn about their environment. Thus, human-generated (anthropogenic) sound added to the environment has the potential to disrupt the detection of biologically relevant sounds, alter behavior, impact fitness...
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 28 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and share experiences of...
Modified Handling for Mice: Handling mice by gripping the base of the tail has been shown to negatively impact animal welfare by increasing anxiety and aversion to handling. We aimed to refi ne the dosing...
It is desirable to administer drugs by the least invasive route to (1) optimise welfare, (2) reduce the risk of injury to animal handlers and (3) minimise the impact of restraint and transient pain on...
All animals have the capacity to learn through operant conditioning and other types of learning, and as a result, zoos and other animal care facilities have shifted towards the use of positive reinforcement training to...
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is strongly associated with animal health and wellbeing. To identify possible problems of the indoor environment of macaques (Macaca spp.), we assessed the IAQ. The temperature (°C), relative humidity (%) and...
Ambient temperature is an important non-biotic environmental factor influencing immunological and oncological parameters in laboratory mice. It is under discussion which temperature is more appropriate and whether the commonly used room temperature in rodent facilities...
The exchange of fish for research may expose an aquatic laboratory to pathogen contamination as incoming fish can introduce bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses capable of affecting both experimental results and fish and personnel health...
Betta splendens, also called Siamese fighting fish or 'betta,' are a popular species in the fishkeeping hobby. Native to South- east Asia, betta have been selectively bred for their fighting ability for hundreds of years...
Mixed rations provide ruminants with a balanced diet by aiming to prevent selective feeding. However, this is a natural behavior of sheep and goats based on their dietary needs and the nutritional properties of feedstuffs...
Rodents used for research can be humanely housed in a variety of ways. As such, a vast number of different housing environments are used, but are often not described in research publications. However, many elements...
Routine health monitoring is an integral part of managing SPF rodent colonies. In recent years, rack-level environmental sampling has been introduced as an adjunct method or replacement for exposure of sentinel rodents to soiled bedding...
Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are a unique rodent species originating in Africa and are increasingly being used in research. Their needs and characteristics differ from those of other rodents used in research. Unique housing...
Sociocultural changes in the human–animal relationship have led to increasing demands for animal welfare in biomedical research. The 3R concept is the basis for bringing this demand into practice: Replace animal experiments with alternatives where...

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