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...
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...
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) are an economically and ecologically important fish species that interact with humans during farming, fishing and research operations. Routine handling in nets exposes fish to mesh and causes scale loss. To...
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...
The study of human–animal interactions has provided insights into the welfare of many species. To date, however, research has largely focused on human relationships with captive mammals, with relatively little exploration of interactions between humans...
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...
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...
Introduction: Transport to the clinic is a major source of stress for cats. The process involves being put into a carrier, driven in a car and handled. Cats are therefore removed from the safe-haven of...
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...
This study into the behaviour of domestic cats (Feliscatus) aimed to assess the relationship between behavioural expressions obtained via the Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) and quantitative outcomes of temperament tests. Four behavioural tests were used...
The aim of this study was to examine the personality structure of domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) by using owner-based reporting of personality traits. A total of 743 ferret owners participated in an online questionnaire...
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...
Temperament assessment is useful in reintroduction programs. Reactivity to humans and flight ability are also important behavioral aspects for captive parrots candidates to reintroduction. The study aimed: a) to evaluate if behavioral responses to environmental...
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...
Handling laboratory animals for husbandry and other procedures can be an important source of anxiety and stress, compromising animal welfare as well as the reliability of research that is sensitive to background stressors. Studies have...
Use of scruffing and scruffing tools (eg, clipnosis clips) to immobilise cats is contentious, and cat handling guidelines vary in recommendations regarding these techniques. The current study examined whether cats show negative responses to the...
Broodstock rearing conditions and handling procedures should be optimized in aquaculture species in order to benefit fish welfare and guarantee optimal conditions for spawning. In teleosts, basal cortisol levels display daily rhythms, oscillating along the...
Handling of laboratory mice is essential for experiments and husbandry, but handling can increase anxiety in mice, compromising their welfare and potentially reducing replicability between studies. The use of non-aversive handling (e.g., tunnel handling or...
Mice are the most commonly used laboratory animals for studying diseases, behaviour, and pharmacology. Behavioural experiment battery aids in evaluating abnormal behaviour in mice. During behavioural experiments, mice frequently experience human contact. However, the effects...
Physical touch can help to decrease the effects of stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of tactile stimulation on the hormonal and behavioral responses of young adult rats submitted to...
Recent studies at Liverpool University have indicated that handling mice by their tails during routine cleaning and procedures induced aversion and high anxiety in many commonly used strains. The evidence from the Liverpool study suggests...

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