Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every four months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

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, Setting, 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, and only publications dated 2020 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Setting. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

Environmental enrichment implemented in early life is able to induce long-term changes in gene expression, synaptic function and behavioural responses. In this study, we evaluated the adult behavioural effects of perinatal environment enrichment in male...

Recent evidence suggests that at least some insect species might plausibly feel pain. These findings should prompt researchers to think about the welfare implications of insect experiments.

Infrared thermography is a method that detects thermal radiation energy and can measure the body surface temperature of animals from a distance. While rectal temperature has traditionally been used to measure animals’ core temperature, thermal...

Facial expressions are an increasingly used tool to assess emotional experience and affective state during experimental procedures in animal models. Previous studies have successfully related specific facial features with different positive and negative valence situations...

Pain in response to tissue damage functions to change behaviour so that further damage is minimised whereas healing and survival are promoted. This paper focuses on the behavioural criteria that match the function to ask...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 29 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and share experiences of...

Neophobia, the fear of novelty, is an ecologically important response which enables animals to avoid potentially harmful situations. Neophobia is a cognitive process by which individuals distinguish novelty from familiarity. In this study, we aimed...

Facial expressions are widely recognized as universal indicators of underlying internal states in most species of animals, thereby presenting as a non-invasive measure for assessing physical and mental conditions. Despite the advancement of artificial intelligence-assisted...

At our institution, the techniques that technicians use for health checks vary for mice housed in cages on individually ventilated caging (IVC) racks. If the mice cannot be adequately visualized, some technicians partially undock the...

Animal welfare assessment relies on valid and practical indicators of affect. In mice, the most widely used research vertebrates, lying still with eyes open, inactive-but-awake (IBA) in the home cage, has potential to be one...

Studies in mice have shown that less aversive handling methods (e.g. tunnel or cup handling) can reduce behavioural measures of anxiety in comparison to picking mice up by their tail. Despite such evidence, tail handling...

Debates around fishes’ ability to feel pain concern sentience: do reactions to tissue damage indicate evaluative consciousness (conscious affect), or mere nociception? Thanks to Braithwaite’s research leadership, and concerns that current practices could compromise welfare...

Boredom is an emotional state that occurs when an individual has nothing to do, is not interested in the surrounding, and feels dreary and in a monotony. While this condition is usually defined for humans...

Vocal emissions in non-human mammals can be used as non-invasive indicators of animal emotion and welfare. Therefore, we aimed to validate the use of acoustic parameters as indicators of affective states and welfare in farmed...

Social buffering of stress refers to the effect of a social partner in reducing the cortisol or corticosterone response to a stressor. It has been well studied in mammals, particularly those that form pair bonds...

Environmental condition, such as environmental complexity or stocking density, can directly or indirectly influence animal emotion and ultimately, affective state. Affective states of animals can be assessed through judgement bias tests, evaluating responses to ambiguous...

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...

Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...

Describing certain animal behaviours as 'depression-like' or 'depressive' has become common across several fields of research. These typically involve unusually low activity or unresponsiveness and/or reduced interest in pleasure (anhedonia). While the term 'depression-like' carefully...

Exploration tendency, one of the most investigated animal personality traits, may be driven by either positive (when seeking interesting information) or negative (to reduce the uncertainty of the environment) affective/emotional profiles. To disentangle the valence...

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...

Early sensory experience, such as exposure to maternal or other environmental factors, is considered to influence neurocognitive development and behaviors. In many species, exposure to odorants during pregnancy or lactation impacts the morpho-functional development of...

Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...

We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...

Measuring body surface temperature changes with infrared thermography has recently been put forward as a non-invasive alternative measure of physiological correlates of emotional reactions. In particular, the nasal region seems to be highly sensitive to...