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 radial arm maze (RAM) is a common behavioral test to assess spatial working and reference memory in mice. However, conventional RAM experiments require a substantial degree of manual handling and animals are usually subjected...

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...

This article describes the biology, husbandry, and care of Siamese fighting fish (also known as the betta fish) at Columbia University.

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

Voluntary wheel running (VWR) behaviour is a sensitive indicator of disturbed wellbeing and used for the assessment of individual experimental severity levels in laboratory mice. However, monitoring individual VWR performance usually requires single housing, which...

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...

Commercial mouse chow is designed to provide a complete, nutrient-rich diet, and it can contain upwards of 100 mg/kg manganese, an essential mineral. Manganese acts as a relaxation time-shortening contrast agent for both T1 and T2...

Anthropogenic sources increasingly contribute to the underwater soundscape and this may negatively impact aquatic life, including fish. Anthropogenic sound may mask relevant sound, alter behaviour, physiology, and may lead to physical injury. Behavioural effect studies...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

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...

When mice are grouped together for the first time, it is a novel experience filled with new sights and smells that will stress the animal too much and may cause aggression. By adding a mirror...

Environmental enrichment (EE) has been shown to promote neural plasticity. Its capacity to induce functional repair in models which exhibit profound sensory deficits due to aberrant axonal guidance has not been well-characterized. Ten-m3 knockout (KO)...

In aquaculture, fish are exposed to unavoidable stressors that can be detrimental for their health and welfare. However, welfare in farmed fish can be difficult to assess, and, so far, no standardized test has been...

In the central nervous system, certain neurons store zinc within the synaptic vesicles of their axon terminals. This vesicular zinc can then be released in an activity-dependent fashion as an intercellular signal. The functions of...

Tattooing traumatizes the skin, which can result in microbial infections with the severity ranging from minor to life-threating septicemia. Additionally, the metals in colored tattoo ink are known to cause dermal inflammation in some people...

This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...

This article describes the successful rehoming of 60 Malawi cichlids from a vivarium at Stanford University to San Diego Zoo and the California Academy of Sciences.

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...

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...

The streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mouse model has been extensively used as a model for diabetes and diabetic nephropathy, but it is still influenced by many off-target toxic effects and large variation in diabetes induction. Therefore...

Fish are widely used in scientific research, and many species are bred for ornamental purposes and human consumption. Despite the large number of fish kept in captivity, research on the welfare of these animals has...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

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...

‘Crunching’ is the term often used to describe the abnormal behaviour of mice that habitually crunch their pelleted diet, causing substrate levels to rise as the crumbs settle on the cage floor ultimately burying the...

Reduction of animal suffering during in vivo experiments is usually ensured by continuously monitoring the health status using a score sheet and by applying humane endpoints. However, most studies do not evaluate the plausibility of...

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