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. 
In this study, a pig toilet was installed on an organic pig farm, which enabled pigs to use a lying area littered with straw and keep it clean. The pig toilet was separated into a...
Little is known on the effect of light on pig behaviour. The choice behaviour of weaned piglets kept under two different light-emitting diode (LED) illuminance levels was investigated: 32 piglets (in two batches) were housed...
Aspects of the laboratory are aversive to mice, such as being housed under bright lights and at temperatures below their thermal comfort, causing stress and poor welfare. While murine thermal preferences are well understood, light...
Sows in an extensive setting maintain small, stable matrilineal social groups comprised of familiar, and often genetically related, conspecifics. Providing conditions in an intensive farm setting which allow similar social groups could reduce aggression by...
Exposure of sentinel mice to dirty bedding is commonly used in health monitoring programs to screen colonies for clinical and subclinical disease. Despite the potential stressors present in dirty bedding, including but not limited to...
General anesthesia as used for rodent research can have adverse effects on physiologic mechanisms. Thermoregulation is often greatly inhibited, with resultant deleterious effects on cardiac and respiratory function. These potential effects can be mitigated by...
Gel solutions are simple to use, have a relative long shelf life and can be delivered with plastic cups or pouches. A common issue encountered by many institutions is that the gel becomes soiled quickly...
Human hair removal brands such as Nair™ are sometimes used in research to remove hair from mice before surgery, imaging, and other procedures.1,3 While the use of these depilatory creams in rodent research is relatively...
Improving the housing of pregnant sows by giving them more space and access to deep straw had positive effects on their welfare, influenced their maternal behavior and improved the survival of their offspring. The present...
Zebrafish, like all fish species, use sound to learn about their environment. Thus, human-generated (anthropogenic) sound added to the environment has the potential to disrupt the detection of biologically relevant sounds, alter behavior, impact fitness...
Unfulfilled exploratory behavior in pigs has been linked to tail biting, which causes reduced performance and welfare. Provision of straw can reduce tail biting, but large straw rations can cause poor hygiene in pens. This...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
In commercial pig production, stressful events are common and can have detrimental impacts on the pig's health and welfare, as well as on the performance of the farm. Supplementary magnesium may reduce stress, and subsequent...
Although nesting material is beneficial to the welfare of laboratory mice, provision of appropriate amounts may impair visualization of the mice. In anticipation of our academic research institution transitioning to providing 6 grams of nesting...
The combination of bedding substrate and nesting material within the microenvironment of mice is an important consideration for animal care programs in regard to optimizing animal wellbeing. We used 3 general or breeding mouse colonies...
Ammonia control is an important characteristic of rodent bedding materials. Among natural bedding materials, corncob bedding provides excellent ammonia control but contains estrogenic compounds and is ingested by mice. By comparison, processed cellulose bedding products...
Whether you are an animal care/husbandry technician, facility manager, or veterinarian, everyone bemoans a leaky drinking valve (often referred to as a lixit). Leaking drinking valves and flooded cages are a fairly common problem when...
This study investigated the effect of 4-d acute thermal treatments at 18 °C, 26 °C (control) and 34 °C on the nervous system of adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) using a multidisciplinary approach based on behavioural...
Piglets weaned under commercial systems are greatly stressed by maternal separation, abrupt changes in the diet and mixing of litters. Intensive agonistic interactions exacerbate this challenge for piglets. We investigated effects of older conspecific presence...
The importance of social stability and its influence on the expression of the social behaviour repertoire in domestic animals remains poorly understood, especially for affiliative behaviours and other putative socio-positive behaviours such as social play...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
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...
Alcohols are commonly used in laboratory animal facilities to disinfect hands, equipment and laboratory environments. The effect on mice is unknown, so we observed male and female C57BL/6J and BALB/c mice during and after handling...
Thanks to its small size, external fertilization and fecundity, over the past four decades, zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become the dominant fish model species in biological and biomedical research. Multiple lines of evidence, however, suggest...
Vertebrates possess circadian clocks, driven by transcriptional–translational loops of clock genes, to orchestrate anticipatory physiological adaptations to cyclic environmental changes. This work aims to investigate how the absence of a light-dark cycle and a feeding...

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