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. 
Environmental enrichment is a method to increase environmental heterogeneity, which may reduce stress and improve animal welfare. Previous studies have shown that environmental enrichment can increase the growth rate, decrease aggressive and anxiety-like behaviors, improve...
Environmental enrichment has been widely studied in rodents, but there is no consensus on what enrichment should look like or what it should achieve. Inconsistent use of the term “enrichment” creates challenges in drawing conclusions...
The enrichment of the environment of captive animals is one of the methods applied to reduce stress of the animals and to assure their proper welfare. However, placing objects in a limited space of a...
In mammals, positive tactile contact is recognized as an effective tool for triggering positive affective states. In this study, we investigated the benefits of providing automatic rotative brushes for group-housed horses. Our three aims were...
Most studies evaluating methods of euthanasia to date have focused on the euthanasia of individual animals. However, larger chambers are commonly used to euthanize multiple cages of animals at once. This study evaluated the use...
Mongolian gerbils can develop stereotypic behaviors, including corner digging. At our institution, gerbils also engage in repetitive corner jumping, which we sought to characterize as a potentially novel stereotypy in gerbils. We then attempted to...
OBJECTIVE: Doses of buffered tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222) up to 1000 mg/L for 15 minutes are reported inefficient to produce euthanasia in goldfish. The goal of this study was to determine if goldfish can be euthanized...
Providing novel and creative enrichments for nonhuman primates improves their mental wellbeing and is thus an important aspect of all husbandry programs. These enrichments are often presented through variations in diet, toys, and environmental features...
This traditional snack has a variety of options for NHP enrichment. From fruit to cereals, get creative with the “ants” and remember to consider different fillings for the celery log.
Numerous studies ascertained positive effects of enriched environments on the well-being of laboratory animals including behavioral, physiological and neurochemical parameters. Conversely, such conclusions imply impaired animal welfare and health in barren husbandry conditions. Moreover, inappropriate...
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...
To improve animal welfare in collective park housing systems, this study assessed the effects of the provision of gnawing hay blocks and the group composition (F: females, M: males, FM: mixed sex) on performance, behavior...
Vaccinations via intramuscular injection are a key component of preventative health care in horses. Development of problematic behavioral aversion to injections is quite common. Our clinical impression has been that topical anesthetic applied to injection...
Social and environmental factors influence behavior via modulation of brain physiological functions. Environmental enrichment (EE) is an animal housing technique that provides complex sensory, motor, and social stimulation, leading to modifications in the innate aggressiveness...
Environmental enrichment (EE) improves the growth rate and welfare of some cultured fishes. However, most cultured fish species are raised in non-enriched housing conditions. Clarias gariepinus is an important commercial fish species, but little is...
Boredom is an emotional state that occurs when an individual has nothing to do, is not interested in the surrounding, and feels dreary and in a monotony. While this condition is usually defined for humans...
In research using animal models, subjects are commonly maintained under standard housing conditions, mainly because of the idea that enhancing welfare conditions could alter experimental data. Another common practice in many laboratories relates to the...
When using an anesthetic overdose to euthanize laboratory rodents, a secondary method of euthanasia is recommended to ensure that the apparent death is irreversible. This secondary method usually is accomplished through the collection of tissues...
Isoflurane has been characterized as a distressing agent for rodents, causing both physiologic and behavioral effects. Using a "darkened home cage" has been recommended during CO2 administration for rodent euthanasia; this is arguably a similar...
The re-release of golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia), from zoos into the wild, is considered to be an ex situ conservation success story. However, zoo-born golden lion tamarins have lower survival rates than their wild-born...
Captive animals that have experienced traumatic events require a high range of care prior to reintroducing them into their natural habitat; and this care should ensure their welfare in captivity. This report shows the ethological...
Enrichment devices are important tools to engage zoo-housed animals in species-specific natural behaviours, which is critical to ensure animal welfare. The gelada Theropithecus gelada has a unique graminivorous feeding ecology, yet there is minimal enrichment...
Laboratory rodents spend the entire day housed in standard cages that provide a restricted area for movements and might, therefore, limit physical activity. However, it has not been tested in immature rodents of ages ranging...
The advancement and quality of science rely on research that is robust and unbiased in its experimental design, execution, analysis, and reproducibility. In preclinical research, a better understanding of animal emotions and refinement of their...
Rodents are the most widely used species for scientific purposes. A critical pre-requisite of their use, based on utilitarian ethical reasoning, is the provision of a humane death when necessary for scientific or welfare grounds...

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