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. 

Environmental enrichment for mice lags behind the standard enrichment offered to other laboratory rodents due to concerns about environmental variability and, in specific contexts, aggression. Our objective in this study was to evaluate concerns that...

Laboratory rodents raised in environmentally-enriched (EE) cages differ behaviourally and cognitively from conventionally-housed (CH) animals. We hypothesised that mice can detect such differences, testing this using differentially-raised female C57BL/6 s as subjects, and differentially-raised female...

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...

We assessed the behavioral effects of environmental enrichment on contrast sensitivity, reflexive eye movements and on oculomotor learning in mice that were housed in an enriched environment for a period of 3 weeks. Research has...

Most would agree that animals in research should be spared “unnecessary” harm, pain, or distress, and there is also growing interest in providing animals with some form of environmental enrichment. But is this the standard...

Little research has been conducted to examine the influence of various methods of providing nest materials—such as dispersing them, providing them as single units, or clustering them—on the behavior and welfare of group-housed mice. In...

Voluntary wheel running is a valuable metabolic intervention and well-established measure of physical activity in preclinical rodent models. Herein, we describe detailed assembly instructions and provide necessary resources for researchers to build their own running...

This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!

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...

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...

‘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...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

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)...

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...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 26 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues, and share experiences of...

Many in the lab animal field are familiar with shipping animals from vendor to investigator, from investigator to vendor, and from investigator to investigator. Sharing mouse models represents being good stewards of our animal resources...

Historically, we provided 2 compressed cotton squares for nesting and enrichment. The logistics of managing nesting material distribution, disposal, and costs are major considerations for our program, which provides husbandry to approximately 60,000 rodent cages...

The Becton Dickinson (BD) Research Animal Care Program has developed an acclimation and enrichment program that has enhanced animal welfare for studies requiring single housing, contributed to a culture of care, increased transparency, and improved...

Environmental Enrichment has been shown in experimental contexts to have clear and often beneficial effects on animal physiology and behavior. Housing prior to experiments can represent a large proportion of an animal’s living conditions, and...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of an environmental enrichment (EE) plan on the reproductive performance of Swiss Webster mice and their female offspring used as recipients for embryo transfer. A...

One of the goals of environmental enrichment is to encourage species-typical behaviors, while discouraging abnormal behaviors or stereotypies. Assessing the effectiveness of various enrichment modalities can be challenging, particularly for prey species such as rabbits...

The aim of this research was to evaluate the possible usefulness of mirrors in improving rabbit behavior in a free-range breeding system. Three groups (each consisting of nine replicates of three animals) were compared: isolated...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

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