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. 

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

Social grooming is often exchanged between individuals in many primate species. Rates of bidirectional (or simultaneous mutual) grooming vary across primate species, and its function is not yet fully understood. For example, mutual grooming is...

The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare...

The past few decades have seen a burgeoning of scientific studies on great apes’ use of nests for sleeping in the wild, as well as their nesting behavior and sleep in captivity. We review recent...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

Spiders with around 48,000 recorded species are major terrestrial predators and thus crucially important for ecosystem functioning. They are widely used as research models and for biodiversity displays and sometimes also kept as pets. Nevertheless...

Laboratory mice (Mus musculus) are typically housed in simple cages consisting of one open space. These standard cages may thwart mouse ability to segregate resting areas from areas where they eliminate, a behaviour that is...

Naturalness is considered important for animals, and is one criterion for assessing how we care for them. However, it is a vague and ambiguous term, which needs definition and assessments suitable for scientific and ethical...

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

Many biomedical research studies use captive animals to model human health and disease. However, a surprising number of studies show that the biological systems of animals living in standard laboratory housing are abnormal. To make...

Covering species-typical behavior as well as abnormal/malfunctional behavior and stereotypes observed in mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils, this is an excellent resource for those looking to implement or enhance an existing behavioral husbandry and enrichment...

Nest building is one of the innate behaviors that are widely observed throughout the animal kingdom. Previous studies have reported specific brain regions and genetic loci associated with nest building in mice. These studies mainly...

House mice (Mus musculus) pose a threat to the native flora and fauna on islands, and can cause significant damage wherever they have been introduced. Methods used to eradicate invasive rodents, like house mice, at...

Primates are notable for having a rich and detailed understanding of their social environment and there has been great interest in the evolution and function of social knowledge in primates. Indeed, primates have been shown...

Refinement typically is viewed as a means of reducing harms to animals used in laboratory research. Examples of recent research on refinement include improved methods of handling and euthanasia. Focus in the animal welfare literature...

The Guide for the Care and Use of Animals and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) outline minimum space requirements for laboratory animals, including rabbits. These documents encourage housing of animals in enclosures that allow...

Bonobos are known for their pacifistic behavior and their large repertoire of behaviors that are thought to serve conflict resolution. One is an unusual form of ventro-ventral mounting that facilitates genital contacts (GC). Various hypotheses...

The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...

An ethological understanding of a behavioral phenomenon incorporates four levels of explanation: development, mechanism, function, and evolution. The phenomenon of socially-mediated learning has garnered a great deal of attention from ethologists, prominently including primatologists. Gregarious...

In this article, laws and guidelines relating to rodent enrichment are reviewed, the natural behaviors of select rodent species are discussed, and an overview of widely used types of enrichment in laboratory rodent management is...

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