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. 
Background: Conventional methods for individually housing, training, and testing rodents in behavioral assays can impose constraints that may limit some kinds of experimental external validity, preempt environmental enrichment, impose heavy experimenter time burdens that limit...
Here, we evaluated if visual barriers could reduce intraspecific agonism in an all-male group of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) living in a zoo. Crocodiles were monitored for nearly 100 h, and four “hotspots” of aggression...
Canada’s current non-legislated oversight system for animal-based science not only fails to adequately incentivize the replacement of sentient animals as best scientific practice in any meaningful way, but also fails to adequately protect those animals...
There are instances when animals are introduced and expected to live alongside unfamiliar conspecifics within zoos, laboratories and wildlife sanctuaries. These pairings of unfamiliar animals may result in stress, trauma, or even death, in addition...
Compared to peers raised in well-resourced, 'enriched' environments (‘EE’), female laboratory mice from conventional barren cages are more aggressive to their cage-mates, and less sociable with familiar non-cage-mates (especially if these too are from conventional...
The presence of a conspecific can be calming to some species of animal during stress, a phenomenon known as social buffering. For rodents, social buffering can reduce the perception of and reaction to aversive experiences...
Both the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released guidance about how to conduct inspections during the pandemic; some of their suggestions may be of value to retain...
The increased use of opioids to treat pain has led to a dramatic increase in opioid abuse. Our previous data indicate that pain may facilitate the development of opioid abuse by increasing the magnitude and...
A number of studies have provided evidence that animals, including rats, remember past episodes. However, few experiments have addressed episodic-like memory from a social perspective. In the present study, we evaluated Wistar rats in the...
Alone among Western nations, the United States has a two-tier system for welfare protections for vertebrate animals in research. Because its Animal Welfare Act (AWA) excludes laboratory rats and mice (RM), government veterinarians do not...
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 use of animals in research entails a range of societal and ethical issues, and there is widespread consensus that animals are to be kept safe from unnecessary suffering. Therefore, harm done to animals in...
In recent years, efforts have been devoted to improving the welfare of laboratory animals. Scientific progress and growing concerns over animal harm have pushed institutions to strengthen their laws to make science more humane and...
In the EU, the breeding of genetically modified laboratory animals is, by definition, an animal experiment if the offspring may experience pain, suffering, or harm. In order to determine the actual burden of genetically modified...
The UK has long been hailed as one of the world leaders in animal welfare. Within the UK, animals used in experiments are provided some protection under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). This...
Research animals are important for scientific advancement, and therefore, their long-term welfare needs to be monitored to not only minimize suffering, but to provide positive affective states and experiences. Currently, there is limited guidance in...
Much of the research done on aging, oxidative stress, anxiety, and cognitive and social behavior in rodents has focused on caloric restriction (CR). This often involves several days of single housing, which can cause numerous...
Institutions that conduct high-containment agricultural research involving domestic livestock represent a specialized category of programs that are accredited by AAALAC International. The accreditation process includes a comprehensive assessment of the overall program of animal care...
Chronic vascular access devices are widely used in a variety of species for repeated blood sampling or substance administration. Jugular catheters are commonly used for studying addiction-related behaviors in rats. Rats with catheters have historically...
Using animals for research raises ethical concerns that are addressed in project evaluation by weighing expected harm to animals against expected benefit to society. A harm–benefit analysis (HBA) relies on two preconditions: (a) the study...
The increasing potential for radiation exposure from nuclear accidents or terrorist activities has intensified the need to develop pharmacologic countermeasures against injury from total body irradiation (TBI). Many initial experiments to develop and test these...
Institutions that conduct animal research are often obliged to release some information under various legal or regulatory frameworks. However, within an institution, perspectives on sharing information with the broader public are not well documented. Inside...
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...
Responses to stress are unavoidable, adaptive mechanisms in humans and non-human animals. However, in humans, chronic stress has been linked to poor health outcomes and early mortality. Allostatic load, the physiologic dysregulation that occurs when...
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...

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