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. 

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

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...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

Rearing laboratory mice in groups is important since social isolation after weaning induces brain alterations, which entails behavioral abnormalities in adulthood. Age is an important factor when grouping males of different litters due to inter-male...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

Studies on the etiology of behavioral problems often involve interference in the animal's routine or reliance on owners' self-reports like surveys. Gathering data from videos posted on social media, a technique coined ‘video mining’, offers...

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

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...

When mice are grouped together for the first time, it is a novel experience filled with new sights and smells that will stress the animal too much and may cause aggression. By adding a mirror...

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...

Ensuring good health and welfare is an increasingly important consideration for conservation of endangered species and includes breeding of individuals managed under human care. Understanding how factors in the captive environment affect individual animal wellbeing...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

Poor reproducibility is considered a serious problem in laboratory animal research, with important scientific, economic, and ethical implications. One possible source of conflicting findings in laboratory animal research are environmental differences between animal facilities combined...

Modern zoos strive to improve standards of animal management, husbandry and welfare of their animals as part of a continual evaluation process. Elephants (Elephantidae) have received particular attention in recent years due to the challenge...

Research has demonstrated that stress can exacerbate AD pathology in transgenic mouse models of AD. The purpose of the present studies was to extend this work by determining whether a social stressor, isolation stress, would...

Laboratory male mice are often housed individually due to aggressive behavior or experimental requirements, though social isolation can cause welfare issues. As a strategy to refine housing of male mice, we introduce the separated pair...

The use of millions of mice in scientific studies worldwide emphasises the continuing need for a reduction of sample sizes, however, not at the expense of scientific validity. Split-plot designs have been suggested to enhance...

Elizabethan collars (E-collars) are commonly used in various species to safeguard healing wounds. However, E-collars inadvertently restrict the expression of normal species-typical behaviors, including coprophagy, self-grooming, and social housing. To maintain social housing in accordance...

The mouse is the most commonly used mammal in scientific research, and housed in research facilities around the world. Mice are a social species, but when housing male mice together in a confined environment in...

The captive environment can limit some important behavioral options for nonhuman animals, which often results in decreased welfare. The companion of a conspecific can be a source of complexity in captivity, but this aspect has...

Elephants have complex social systems that are predominantly driven by ecological factors in situ. Within zoos, elephants are held in relatively static social groups and the factors observed driving social relationships in the wild are...

Zoos play a vital role in managing and conserving a wide range of threatened species and in enhancing their populations in natural habitats through captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. Most small felids are poor breeders...

The basic question as to whether male laboratory mice should be singly or group housed represents a major animal welfare concern within current laboratory animal legislation and husbandry. To better understand the behavioural and physiological...

There are different husbandry situations that lead to social isolation of male mice. Besides legal considerations, single housing has a negative impact on behavioural and molecular studies. We have implemented two strategies, the ‘companion mouse’...

Aggressiveness is one of the main problems in group housing of rabbit does. The aim of the experiment was to investigate the frequency of aggressiveness and mating behaviour as well as the lifespan of does...

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