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. 
Stress during handling can negatively impact the welfare of an animal. Gradual habituation or systematic desensitisation can reduce this but is not always possible. Blindfolding has been shown to decrease stress indicators, including heart rate...
Based on queries received during our 2021 LASA 3Rs’ presentation, we describe operational highlights and concerns that came up during the rollout of nonaversive handling as standard of care at our mouse breeding facility. We...
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...
There are an estimated half-a-million Plains Bison (Bison bison) present in North America in commercial and conservation herds. Most bison are rounded up and “worked” annually for parasite control, veterinarian attention, and processing, making it...
As part of our commitment to continuous improvement of laboratory animal welfare, the North American 3Rs Collaborative (NA3RsC) brought together several experts to examine the evidence, impact, and practicality of alternative methods for picking up...
Non-aversive handling is a well-documented refinement measure for improving rodent welfare. Because maternal stress is related to reduced productivity, we hypothesized that welfare benefits associated with non-aversive handling would translate to higher production and fewer...
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...
One of the highest occurrences of mortalities among giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) takes place during immobilisations, captures and translocations. Common mistakes, human error, unforeseen risks, the awkward anatomy and the sheer size of the animal are...
Animal-borne tracking devices have generated a wealth of new knowledge, allowing us to better understand, manage and conserve species. Fitting such tracking devices requires that animals are captured and often chemically immobilized. Such procedures cause...
There is increasing evidence that, compared to non-aversive handling methods (i.e., tunnel and cupping), tail handling has a negative impact on mouse welfare. Despite this evidence, there are still research organisations that continue to use...
The use of head fixation in mice is increasingly common in research, its use having initially been restricted to the field of sensory neuroscience. Head restraint has often been combined with fluid control, rather than...
“Gentling” (soft touching, “taming”) has long-term effects on the behavior of laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus). Our own studies showed that the use of a “gentling” program in the fourth and fifth week of life resulted...
Since they arrived at CU Boulder, we have learned a lot about the voles from the laboratory, other institutions, and our trial-and-error. We hope this information can be helpful to any considering adding voles to...
Rodents emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) above the human hearing threshold of ~ 20 kHz to communicate emotional states and to coordinate their social interactive behavior. Twenty-two kHz USVs emitted by adult rats have been reported...
While capture-mark-recapture studies provide essential individual-level data in ecology, repeated captures and handling may impact animal welfare and cause scientific bias. Evaluating the consequences of invasive methodologies should be an integral part of any study...
Studies in mice have shown that less aversive handling methods (e.g. tunnel or cup handling) can reduce behavioural measures of anxiety in comparison to picking mice up by their tail. Despite such evidence, tail handling...
Automated touchscreen techniques find increasing application for the assessment of cognitive function in rodents. However, hardly anything is known about the potential impact of touchscreen-based training and testing procedures on the animals under investigation. Addressing...
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 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...
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...
In this Opinion paper, we consider whether current methods of tickling overemphasize the use of pinning (Figure 1) to which there may be a wider response variation than commonly acknowledged. We do not dispute that...
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...
Adolescence is a critical period of establishing social relations through social interactions that affect the emotional development associated with stress responses, anxiety, depression, and cognitive development. We investigated the behavioral and neurobiological changes induced by...
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...
The key to non-aversive methods of handling lies in understanding what capture method creates the least anxiety in mice: be this tunnel or cupping or another method. It is important that we do not get...

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