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. 

The AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia state that, to decrease potential distress of animals, the home cage should be used for the euthanasia of mice. The current study evaluated this recommendation by comparing behavioral and physiologic...

Feelings of fear, anxiety, dyspnea and panic when inhaling carbon dioxide (CO2) are variable among humans, in part due to differences in CO2 sensitivity. Rat aversion to CO2 consistently varies between individuals; this variation in...

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...

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...

Ensuring good health and welfare is an increasingly important consideration for conservation of endangered species, whether free-ranging or managed to varying degrees under human care. The welfare-based design of a new habitat for Asian elephants...

Laboratory mice are commonly euthanised with carbon dioxide (CO2); however, there is ample evidence that this gas is aversive. Previous work suggests that sedation achieved via injection with benzodiazepines prior to CO2 administration could reduce...

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...

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...

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...

Evidence indicates that carbon dioxide (CO2) induces negative affective states (including anxiety, fear and distress) in laboratory rodents, but many countries still accept it for euthanasia. Alternative methods (e.g. inhalant anaesthetic) may represent a refinement...

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...

Group-housing is highly important for social animals. Group-housing of male mice in captivity though often leads to aggression with partially disastrous consequences for the animals as well as for the quality of experimental data. In...

Animal welfare is a growing societal concern and the well-being of animals used for experimental purposes is under particular scrutiny. The vast majority of laboratory animals are mice living in small cages that do not...

Aggression in male mice often leads to injury and death, making social housing difficult. We tested whether (1) small group size, (2) early age of allocation to a group decreases aggression and 3) manipulation increases...

Caring for all aspects of zoo elephants’ well-being is considered a major challenge. Providing an appropriate flooring substrate to facilitate lying rest presents a meaningful part of a holistic management concept. Investigating the impact of...

Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...

Environmental conditions, including enrichment and stress, affect animal behaviors, but limited information is available regarding the differences in animal functions between the chamber (ventilated system) vs. IVC (individually ventilated cages) housing systems. Therefore, the effects...

This review paper is a synthesis of results from multiple studies that we have conducted over the past several years using similar methodologies to identify factors related to welfare of captive populations of elephants in...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

Wild chimpanzees frequently make arboreal nests, while wild lowland gorillas typically nest on the ground. We aimed to understand whether zoo-housed apes’ use of elevated spaces for retiring similarly differed between species and across exhibits...

Carbon dioxide and isoflurane are widely used for killing rats, yet may not truly achieve “euthanasia”, because they elicit aversion. The inhalant anesthetic desflurane is faster acting than isoflurane, representing a potential refinement. Using an...

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