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. 
Abnormal behaviour in captive animals is both pervasive and ambiguous. Although individual differences are central to the field of animal welfare, studies on abnormal behaviour predominantly employ quantitative, population-level approaches. For example, whereas previous studies...
For the production and rederivation of mouse strains, pseudopregnant female mice are used for embryo transfer and serve as surrogate mothers to support embryo development to term. Vasectomized males are commonly used to render pseudopregnancy...
In a captive environment, it is challenging to ensure the highest level of social and psychological well-being for species with naturally complex social organizations and structures. There is a growing need to meet the social...
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...
Early-life experiences may considerably affect the behavioural patterns of adult primates. Particularly, atypical rearing practices might lead to abnormal behaviours and social-sexual deficiencies in captive, adult non-human primates. We conducted behavioural observations of mother-reared (n...
Laboratory mouse pups are commonly weaned between postnatal day 21–28. Utilization of an exact wean date postpartum is a concrete metric for mouse colony management, but variation can result such as: developmental differences among genetically...
Perinatal mortality is a major issue in laboratory mouse breeding. We compared a counting method using daily checks (DAILY_CHECK) with a method combining daily checks with detailed video analyses to detect cannibalisms (VIDEO_TRACK) for estimating...
Food grinding, or chewing food without ingestion, is a topic of interest in the laboratory animal community. In addition to increased effort needed to deal with this excess waste and provide suitable microenvironment for animals...
Mice (Mus musculus) have a high basal rate of metabolism which increases during pregnancy and lactation. During peak lactation, water intake amounts to up to 65 % of the bodyweight per day. Providing water in...
‘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...
High and variable pre-weaning mortality is a persistent problem in laboratory mouse breeding. Assuming a modest 15% mortality rate across mouse strains, means that approximately 1 million more pups are produced yearly in the EU...
Poor reproducibility is considered a serious problem in laboratory animal research, with important scientific, economic, and ethical implications. One possible source of conflicting findings in laboratory animal research are environmental differences between animal facilities combined...
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...
Much like the menstrual cycle in humans, mice also have a cycle where the eggs ripen, ovulation takes place, the females come into heat and are receptive to mate with the male; this occurs over...
According to the Guide, cage change frequencies must be considered when cage density requirements are exceeded. We monitored ammonia, carbon dioxide, cage wetness, health status, and breeding parameters of trio and pair breeding cages containing...
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...
The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...
Injurious home-cage aggression (fighting) in mice affects both animal welfare and scientific validity. It is arguably the most common potentially preventable morbidity in mouse facilities. Existing literature on mouse aggression almost exclusively examines territorial aggression...
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...
Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...
Recent scientific evidence for fish sentience has stressed the need for novel sentience-based detection tools of fish welfare impairment in commercial farms. In order to mimic a well-characterised stress situation, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were...
Stereotypical behaviours (SBs) are abnormal, repetitive behaviours often observed in captivity. SBs are linked to impoverished captive conditions, and stereotypic individuals show a particular set of behaviours (e.g. bolder personality, greater activity) indicating proactive coping...
The weekend effect hypothesis proposes that captive primates are more likely to give birth during times of low disturbance and reduced staff activity. The hypothesis specifically predicts that laboratory‐housed primates will be more likely to...
The impact of behavioural disorders on animal welfare in modern animal husbandry has been much debated. While other abnormal behaviours have been explored at length, there are a paucity of studies on tail-biting in rabbits...
The question of 'if and how captive primates are affected by visitors' has gained increasing attention over the last decades. Although the majority reported undesirable effects on behavior and wellbeing, many studies reported contradicting results...

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