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. 
Here, we evaluated if visual barriers could reduce intraspecific agonism in an all-male group of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) living in a zoo. Crocodiles were monitored for nearly 100 h, and four “hotspots” of aggression...
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...
Surveys provide a low-cost means to obtain large amounts of data that are ideal for conducting exploratory research, and they are becoming an increasingly valuable tool in a veterinary context. We investigated whether surveys of...
Compared to peers raised in well-resourced, 'enriched' environments (‘EE’), female laboratory mice from conventional barren cages are more aggressive to their cage-mates, and less sociable with familiar non-cage-mates (especially if these too are from conventional...
IVC systems are marketed for improving the health and management of mouse colonies. The current study compared mouse reproductive performance and husbandry and environmental parameters among 3 high-density (HD) IVC rack systems (RS1, RS2, and...
Metabolic caging is an important tool for quantitative urine and feces collection in rodents, although significant limitations and problems accompany its use. Despite strong opinions among investigators regarding the effects of metabolic caging on energy...
Laboratory rodent housing conditions vary significantly across laboratories and facilities. Variation in housing can be associated with animal stress leading to study variability and the subsequent inability to replicate experimental findings. Optimization and standardization of...
It is often stressful for cats to be placed in cages in a shelter and environmental enrichment (EE) of the caging is one mechanism for mitigating this stress. The behavioural style of 72 cats was...
The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
The article describes the care of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus) including information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. Some of the information presented is derived from...
The RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 27 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and share...
Snakes are sentient animals and should be subject to the accepted general welfare principles of other species. However, they are also the only vertebrates commonly housed in conditions that prevent them from adopting rectilinear behavior...
The increasing potential for radiation exposure from nuclear accidents or terrorist activities has intensified the need to develop pharmacologic countermeasures against injury from total body irradiation (TBI). Many initial experiments to develop and test these...
Although most chameleon species can be challenging captives, C. calyptratus have been successfully kept and bred in captivity for over thirty years. Despite their relative familiarity, our challenge is to replicate their preferred habitats in...
Considering animal welfare, animals should be kept in animal-appropriate and stress-free housing conditions in all circumstances. To assure such conditions, not only basic needs must be met, but also possibilities must be provided that allow...
Behavior is one of the most observable and informative indicators of animal welfare. This study used behavioral observation methodologies to evaluate the impact of an enclosure expansion on the activity budgets of a group of...
Mouse shelters can provide mice with security, help them thermoregulate, offer darkness to prevent damage to their eyes and enable climbing and gnawing opportunities. For laboratory mice, there is a vast array of commercially available...
In this case study, a housing system for rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was developed, complying with the new German Welfare Regulation, and evaluated on-farm with regard to the rabbits' behaviour during four fattening periods. The housing...
Despite tremendous efforts at standardization, the results of scientific studies can vary greatly, especially when considering animal research. It is important to emphasize that consistent different personality-like traits emerge and accumulate over time in laboratory...
Dogs and cats housed in research-, kennel- and cattery-type settings are reliant on caregivers to optimise their day-to-day experiences and welfare. The goal is to provide enriching environments for physical, social and environmental control; behavioural...
During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...
This research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...
There is much evidence in mammals and birds demonstrating the importance of providing sufficient space to allow captive animals to exhibit natural behaviours, however, little such evidence exists for reptiles. The aim of this study...
While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...
Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting...

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