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. 
Background: Conventional methods for individually housing, training, and testing rodents in behavioral assays can impose constraints that may limit some kinds of experimental external validity, preempt environmental enrichment, impose heavy experimenter time burdens that limit...
Species-specific welfare indicators are important in promoting positive welfare for zoo animals. Reptiles are a notoriously understudied group in regards to behavior, welfare needs, and husbandry requirements. Using opportunistically obtained samples, we evaluated how blood...
Small animal models are frequently used to improve our understanding of the molecular and biological signaling pathways underlying the beneficial effects of physical activity and exercise. Unfortunately, when running wheels are employed, mice and rats...
It is sometimes essential to have an animal in the hand to study some of their ecological and biological characteristics. However, capturing a solitary, cryptic, elusive arboreal species such as the red panda in the...
The recognition of novel objects is a common cognitive test for rodents, but current paradigms have limitations, such as low sensitivity, possible odor confounds and stress due to being performed outside of the homecage. We...
Mouse handling and restraint affect behavior, physiology, and animal welfare, yet little information is available on how various mouse restraint methods affect cardiovascular parameters. We validated the use of a smartphone-based ECG sys- tem in...
Despite the widely used application of standardized capture-handling protocols to collect blood and assess the physiological stress response, the actual sampling design (e.g., timing and the number of blood samples) often differs between studies, and...
Firmly squeezing the chests of newborn foals and calves that are showing abnormal behaviours after birth causes them to enter a less-responsive state, characterised by lying down with eyes closed and no limb movements. Once...
The fitting of tracking devices to wild animals requires capture and handling which causes stress and can potentially cause injury, behavioural modifications that can affect animal welfare and the output of research. We evaluated post...
Gentle human-animal interactions can induce positive emotions in cattle and enhance their welfare. We investigated whether a change in the animals’ perceived control over the situation influences their perception of the interactions. We compared the...
The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of reduced stocking density in combination with provision of additional enrichment material on pig welfare on-farm. On three growing-finishing farms in Austria, in total 974...
Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...
Background: Animal models used to study pathologies requiring rehabilitation therapy, such as cardiovascular and neurologic disorders or oncologic disease, must be as refined and translationally relevant as possible. Sometimes, however, experimental procedures such as those...
The radial arm maze (RAM) is a common behavioral test to assess spatial working and reference memory in mice. However, conventional RAM experiments require a substantial degree of manual handling and animals are usually subjected...
At the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign (UIUC), we routinely teach novice research personnel how to appropriately handle, restrain, and perform basic experimental techniques on rats. Barriers to teaching include fear of animal bites...
Research in ecology and wildlife biology remains crucial for increasing our knowledge and improving species management and conservation in the midst of the current biodiversity crisis. However, obtaining information on population status often involves invasive...
All capture methods impose animal welfare impacts, but these impacts are rarely quantified or reported. We present data from two wildlife capture studies that trialled new methods for capturing Bennett’s wallabies (Notamacropus rufogriseus) and red...
Housing systems and environmental features can influence beef cattle welfare. To date, little information has been synthesized on this topic. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the relationship between housing and welfare...
This study aimed at assessing whether a reduction in stocking density (SKD) would mitigate lameness and positively affect the performance and health of Charolais bulls in an Italian commercial farm. Bulls were distributed in groups...
Limited space in dairy cattle farming is associated with frequent encounters between cows, often resulting in agonistic interactions and injuries, especially in horned cows. Previous studies with dairy cows investigated space allowances in the waiting...
In intensive pig farming of Western and Southern Europe, welfare concerns are still often related to barren environments and crowded conditions. Pig producers need to balance the requirements to improve welfare conditions at farm with...
In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...
Most would agree that animals in research should be spared “unnecessary” harm, pain, or distress, and there is also growing interest in providing animals with some form of environmental enrichment. But is this the standard...
We studied how space allowance affects measures of animal welfare in mice by systematically varying group size and cage type across three levels each in both males and females of two strains of mice (C57BL/6ByJ...

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