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. 

Environmental enrichment for mice lags behind the standard enrichment offered to other laboratory rodents due to concerns about environmental variability and, in specific contexts, aggression. Our objective in this study was to evaluate concerns that...

The origins of floor-laying in ducks could be low motivation for a nest, or stress related to difficulties with accessing a nest (e.g. competition). Using a behavioural demand test, we investigated if increasing the work...

Laboratory rodents raised in environmentally-enriched (EE) cages differ behaviourally and cognitively from conventionally-housed (CH) animals. We hypothesised that mice can detect such differences, testing this using differentially-raised female C57BL/6 s as subjects, and differentially-raised female...

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...

Environmental enrichment has been found to significantly influence the cognitive abilities of a variety of mammalian and avian species, with effects ranging from positive to negative, however, these effects have been little studied in reptiles...

There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating the benefits of environmental enrichment across a range of different animal species. However, there is comparatively little such research into the effect of enrichment provision on captive reptiles...

We assessed the behavioral effects of environmental enrichment on contrast sensitivity, reflexive eye movements and on oculomotor learning in mice that were housed in an enriched environment for a period of 3 weeks. Research has...

Little research has been conducted to examine the influence of various methods of providing nest materials—such as dispersing them, providing them as single units, or clustering them—on the behavior and welfare of group-housed mice. In...

Voluntary wheel running is a valuable metabolic intervention and well-established measure of physical activity in preclinical rodent models. Herein, we describe detailed assembly instructions and provide necessary resources for researchers to build their own running...

This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!

Considering animal welfare, animals should be kept in animal-appropriate and stress-free housing conditions in all circumstances. To assure such conditions, not only basic needs must be met, but also possibilities must be provided that allow...

Recent research has uncovered many complex cognitive traits and affective processes in many reptile species, such as the ability to make choices that are rewarding or pleasurable. The investigation herein was initiated after many years...

The effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior and welfare in captivity of reptiles and of freshwater turtles in particular, which are popular aquarium and pet species, is very little studied compared to other taxa...

When given the opportunity, mice will choose to build nests using multiple different materials. Studies indicate that providing mice with choices which mimic the natural environment allows laboratory mice to build the best quality nests...

Mouse shelters can provide mice with security, help them thermoregulate, offer darkness to prevent damage to their eyes and enable climbing and gnawing opportunities. For laboratory mice, there is a vast array of commercially available...

The aim of our study was to assess the nest-building behaviour of two mouse (Mus musculus) strains using different nesting materials and examine possible sex- and housing-specific effects. Adult mice of two strains (C57BL/6J; n...

Playing music or natural sounds to animals in human care is thought to have beneficial effects. An analysis of published papers on the use of human-based music with animals demonstrates a variety of different results...

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...

This research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...

Domesticated mice and rats have shown to be powerful model systems for biomedical research, but there are cases in which the biology of species is a poor match for the hypotheses under study. The California...

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...

Introduction: Single housing of laboratory mice is a common practice to meet experimental needs, or to avoid intermale aggression. However, single housing is considered to negatively affect animal welfare and may compromise the scientific validity...

Growing research effort has shown that physical enrichment (PE) can improve fish welfare and research validity. However, the inclusion of PE does not always result in positive effects and conflicting findings have highlighted the many...

Recent studies showed that freshwater turtles display inter-individual differences in various behavioural traits, which may influence their health and welfare in captivity due to differences in response to husbandry and enrichment strategies and in ability...

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