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...

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...

It is sometimes essential to have an animal in the hand to study some of their ecological and biological characteristics. However, capturing a solitary, cryptic, elusive arboreal species such as the red panda in the...

Despite the widely used application of standardized capture-handling protocols to collect blood and assess the physiological stress response, the actual sampling design (e.g., timing and the number of blood samples) often differs between studies, and...

Judgment bias tasks can reveal changes in affect in animals as a function of environmental manipulations such as provision of enrichment. We assessed affect in an American black bear across seasonal changes in availability of...

The key to non-aversive methods of handling lies in understanding what capture method creates the least anxiety in mice: be this tunnel or cupping or another method. It is important that we do not get...

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...

The fitting of tracking devices to wild animals requires capture and handling which causes stress and can potentially cause injury, behavioural modifications that can affect animal welfare and the output of research. We evaluated post...

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...

Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...

Background: Animal models used to study pathologies requiring rehabilitation therapy, such as cardiovascular and neurologic disorders or oncologic disease, must be as refined and translationally relevant as possible. Sometimes, however, experimental procedures such as those...

Handling laboratory animals for husbandry and other procedures can be an important source of anxiety and stress, compromising animal welfare as well as the reliability of research that is sensitive to background stressors. Studies have...

Handling of laboratory mice is essential for experiments and husbandry, but handling can increase anxiety in mice, compromising their welfare and potentially reducing replicability between studies. The use of non-aversive handling (e.g., tunnel handling or...

Mice are the most commonly used laboratory animals for studying diseases, behaviour, and pharmacology. Behavioural experiment battery aids in evaluating abnormal behaviour in mice. During behavioural experiments, mice frequently experience human contact. However, the effects...

All capture methods impose animal welfare impacts, but these impacts are rarely quantified or reported. We present data from two wildlife capture studies that trialled new methods for capturing Bennett’s wallabies (Notamacropus rufogriseus) and red...

Recent studies at Liverpool University have indicated that handling mice by their tails during routine cleaning and procedures induced aversion and high anxiety in many commonly used strains. The evidence from the Liverpool study suggests...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) argue that it is wrong to dismiss the idea of sentience in invertebrates. Here, I expand on the evidence for crustaceans responding to noxious stimuli in ways that are not explained...

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...

This article describes the authors’ experience with the housing, social housing, husbandry, handling, and environmental enrichment of chinchillas in laboratories.

Capybaras, also known as “water pigs,” are the world’s largest rodent. Although these animals are closely related to guinea pigs, with a shoulder height of approximately 2 ft, coarse brown fur, and partially webbed feet...

Zoos use ambassador animals in educational programs featuring close contact with humans. Chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) at the Saint Louis Zoo are retrieved for programs by a keeper wearing brown handling gloves, but green cleaning gloves...

Millions of mice are used every year for scientific research, representing the majority of scientific procedures conducted on animals. The standard method used to pick up laboratory mice for general husbandry and experimental procedures is...

Handling is a well-known source of stress to laboratory animals and can affect variability of results and even compromise animal welfare. The conventional tail handling in mice has been shown to induce aversion and anxiety-like...

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...

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