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. 

Assessing the well-being of an animal is hindered by the limitations of efficient communication between humans and animals. Instead of direct communication, a variety of parameters are employed to evaluate the well-being of an animal...

Driven by the longer lifespans of humans, particularly in Westernised societies, and the need to know more about ‘healthy ageing’, ageing mice are being used increasingly in scientific research. Many departments and institutes involved with...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

Objectively recognizing postoperative pain in mice is challenging, making it difficult to determine an appropriate postoperative analgesic regimen. Adult male mice produce ultrasonic vocalizations after exposure to adult female urine (FiUSV). To determine if FiUSV...

Animal models in psychiatric research are indispensable for insights into mechanisms of behaviour and mental disorders. Distress is an important aetiological factor in psychiatric diseases, especially depression, and is often used to mimic the human...

Rabbits are the third species in terms of number of animals reared for meat production in the world. However, in comparison to other species, very few studies have focused on their welfare. The aim of...

Behavioural indicators of affective state, including burrowing, clinical scores and the Mouse Grimace Score have not yet been validated in mouse models of chronic gastrointestinal disease. Additionally, a comparison of these methods has not been...

Identifying early indicators of distress in mice is difficult using either periodic monitoring or current technology. Likewise, poor pain identification remains a barrier to providing appropriate pain relief in many mouse models. The Time to...

Several established models in human and veterinary medicine exist to evaluate an individual health or disease status. Many of these seem unsuitable for further epidemiological research aimed at discovering underlying influential factors. As a case...

This poster offers two visual health monitoring scoring sheets for mice. The first consists of a red-amber-green coding system to determine the frequency of daily health checks and when a humane endpoint is reached. The...

Severity assessment for experiments conducted with laboratory animals is still based mainly on subjective evaluations; evidence-based methods are scarce. Objective measures, amongst which determination of the concentrations of stress hormones, can be used to aid...

Regular body mass (BM) monitoring plays a key role in preventative health care of zoo animals. In some species, including African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), the process of weighing can be challenging...

In order to foster animal welfare as well as high quality of research, many countries regulate by law that the severity of animal experiments must be evaluated and considered when performing biomedical research. It is...

The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) is an established method for estimating pain in mice during animal studies. Recently, an improved and standardized MGS set-up and an algorithm for automated and blinded output of images for...

Nest building and burrowing are highly motivated natural behaviors in rodents, and changes in these behaviors can serve as welfare assessment tools. In this study, we investigated: 1) the limits of agreement between 2 observers...

In many animal experiments scientists and local authorities define a body-weight reduction of 20% or more as severe suffering and thereby as a potential parameter for humane endpoint decisions. In this study, we evaluated distinct...

A hallmark symptom of rheumatoid arthritis in humans is painful swollen joints. Pain can manifest before any inflammation is noticeable as well as persist long after inflammation has resolved. In rodent models of arthritis, ankle...

A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...

We explore elephant play behaviour since (a) play has been proposed to represent a potential welfare indicator; and (b) play has been associated with long-term survival in the wild. We categorised play into four types...

Capybaras, also known as “water pigs,” are the world’s largest rodent. Although these animals are closely related to guinea pigs, with a shoulder height of approximately 2 ft, coarse brown fur, and partially webbed feet...

The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) has been widely used for the noninvasive examination of distress/pain in mice. The aim of this study was to further improve its performance to generate repeatable, faster, blinded and reliable...

Pain and its alleviation are currently a highly studied issue in human health. Research on pain and response to analgesia has evolved to include the effects of genetics, heritability, and sex as important components in...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 26 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues, and share experiences of...

Knowledge of the welfare status of wild animals is vital for informing debates about the ways in which we interact with wild animals and their habitats. Currently, there is no published information about how to...

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