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 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...

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...

‘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...

Fur-chewing is a common problem in chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera). It may affect the welfare of animals due to heat loss, thereby possibly impacting food and water intake to maintain body temperature. In this context, infrared...

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...

Stereotypies (a subset of Abnormal Repetitive Behaviour [ARB]) are characterised by an unchanging pattern of behaviour and in captive animals can be associated with poor welfare. Although well known in certain taxa, little is known...

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...

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...

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...

Interactions between zoo professionals and animals occur regularly and are believed to be enriching for animals. Little empirical information exists on how animals perceive these interactions, and particularly how the interactions affect the emotional states...

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...

In the past, there was a strong focus on avoiding or reducing negative animal welfare in animal experimentation. Recently, the importance of promoting positive animal welfare in laboratory animals has been highlighted. To ensure and...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

A host of scholarly work has characterized the positive effects of exercise and environmental enrichment on behaviour and cognition in animal studies. The purpose of this study was to investigate the uptake and longitudinal impact...

Abnormal behavior occurs in a number of captive nonhuman primate species and is often used as an indicator of welfare. However, reported levels of abnormal behavior often vary across species, making general welfare judgments difficult...

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...

The field of primate behavior management has had only limited success in preventing and treating abnormal behaviors, such as stereotypy and self‐injury, in captive non‐human primates (NHP). In contrast, applied behavior analysts have had great...

Ample studies have shown that housing can affect the health, welfare and behavior of mice and therefore, the outcomes of certain experiments. The aim of this study was to investigate if three widely used housing...

This comment is in response to a recent review of stereotypical behavior in captive exotic animals (Rose et al., 2017). Negative stereotypical behavior occurs across most if not all taxa, including notable aquatic invertebrates. A...

Cognitive processes are influenced by underlying affective states, and tests of cognitive bias have recently been developed to assess the valence of affective states in animals. These tests are based on the fact that individuals...

Stereotypies are abnormal repetitive behaviour patterns that are highly prevalent in laboratory mice and are thought to reflect impaired welfare. Thus, they are associated with impaired behavioural inhibition and may also reflect negative affective states...

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