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. 
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...
This article describes the strategies employed by Kumamoto Sanctuary in Japan to integrate 3 retired chimpanzees – who each spent 30 years singly housed in a biomedical facility – with the sanctuary’s other residents.
Monitoring animals in their natural habitat is essential for advancement of animal behavioural studies, especially in pollination studies. Non-invasive techniques are preferred for these purposes as they reduce opportunities for research apparatus to interfere with...
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...
Identification marking mice commonly involves ear-punching with or without anaesthetic, or tail-marking with ink. To identify which is most humane, we marked weanling male BALB/c mice using ear-punching (EP), ear-punching with anaesthetic EMLATM cream (EP+A)...
During transportation, animals must have a water source available to prevent dehydration. Some shipping facilities use potatoes whereas, others use colloidal water gels that provide a uniform water source. The problem occurs when colloidal water...
Tattooing traumatizes the skin, which can result in microbial infections with the severity ranging from minor to life-threating septicemia. Additionally, the metals in colored tattoo ink are known to cause dermal inflammation in some people...
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...
Many in the lab animal field are familiar with shipping animals from vendor to investigator, from investigator to vendor, and from investigator to investigator. Sharing mouse models represents being good stewards of our animal resources...
Ear tagging is perceived as less painful or stressful than tattooing and therefore is generally considered less harmful or costly to welfare. However, ear tags are more difficult to read than tattoos and can fall...
Social housing of laboratory rodents is recommended whenever possible to encourage natural behavior and social dynamics. Several identification methods are used to distinguish rodents from one another. One of the most common means of identifying...
This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.
A cohort of captive-bred red-eared slider turtles, Trachemys scripta, was received from a commercial vendor. Shortly after arrival, several turtles presented as lethargic with subjectively pale skin and multifocal areas of cotton-like tufts in the...
The aim of this study was to assess hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that were subjected to relocation and surgery to evaluate HPA-axis activity; in addition, we used this marker...
Toe clipping and ear clipping (also ear notching or ear punching) are frequently used methods for individual identification of laboratory rodents. These procedures potentially cause severe discomfort, which can reduce animal welfare and distort experimental...
To investigate how long relocation modified hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits, 19 rabbits were subjected to a change in their breeding facility at the beginning of the trial and then were kept...
The transportation of animals from supplier to experimental facility is one of the biggest stressors to animals in research. Transportation unavoidably causes stress and when the animals arrive at the testing facility they require a...
Cephalopods are the sole invertebrates included in the list of regulated species following the Directive 2010/63/EU. According to the Directive, achieving competence through adequate training is a requisite for people having a role in the...
Marmota monax is a valuable laboratory animal species used in studies of Hepatitis B virus (HBV), food intake, obesity, hibernation, and circannual cycles. This article describes the woodchuck’s (also known as groundhog) natural behavior and...
Understanding the factors associated with the long-term stress levels of captive animals is important from the view of animal welfare. In this study, we investigated the effects of relocation in addition to individual and environmental...
Social housing is recommended where possible for laboratory mice. In order to achieve this, mice must be individually identifiable. Although, various methods are available, permanent identification is often required, such as ear notching. This method...
The debate on the use of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in biomedical research has been ongoing for several years now. In 2012, the decision was made to retire a large number of laboratory chimpanzees in the...
The ideal animal model would contribute no confounding variables in experimental science. Variables affect experimental design resulting in increased animal use or repeated studies. We demonstrated a simple refinement which may reduce the number of...
Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have served in biomedical and behavioral research since the early 1900s and captive breeding programs to supply chimpanzees have been common since the 1960’s. The captive research population reached a peak of...
The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...

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