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. 
Compared to peers raised in well-resourced, 'enriched' environments (‘EE’), female laboratory mice from conventional barren cages are more aggressive to their cage-mates, and less sociable with familiar non-cage-mates (especially if these too are from conventional...
Social animals commonly establish dominance relationships by means of aggressive interaction, leading to hierarchical stability and priority of access to limited resources by high-ranked individuals. In poikilothermic animals, temperature is a major abiotic factor influencing...
The presence of a conspecific can be calming to some species of animal during stress, a phenomenon known as social buffering. For rodents, social buffering can reduce the perception of and reaction to aversive experiences...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
While recent work has assessed how environmental and managerial changes influence elephant welfare across multiple zoos, few studies have addressed the effects of management changes within a single institution. In this paper, we examine how...
Automated touchscreen techniques find increasing application for the assessment of cognitive function in rodents. However, hardly anything is known about the potential impact of touchscreen-based training and testing procedures on the animals under investigation. Addressing...
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...
Much of the research done on aging, oxidative stress, anxiety, and cognitive and social behavior in rodents has focused on caloric restriction (CR). This often involves several days of single housing, which can cause numerous...
The increasing potential for radiation exposure from nuclear accidents or terrorist activities has intensified the need to develop pharmacologic countermeasures against injury from total body irradiation (TBI). Many initial experiments to develop and test these...
Appropriate management of social groups is one of the greatest challenges that face zoos and aquaria worldwide. To facilitate breeding programmes, particularly in polygynous species, there is a need to house surplus males in bachelor...
The introduction of elephants into new groups is necessary for breeding programmes. However, behavioural studies on the reactions of these animals at first encounters are missing. In the present study, female African elephants (Loxodonta africana)...
During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...
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...
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...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...
In captivity, the managers of primate populations have removed individuals from their groups for medical and social reasons, but there has been little documentation regarding the consequences of this extraction on the sociality of the...
During transportation, animals must have a water source available to prevent dehydration. Some shipping facilities use potatoes whereas, others use colloidal water gels that provide a uniform water source. The problem occurs when colloidal water...
Dealing with potential stress in species that have high husbandry requirements, such as elephants, is a challenge for zoos. The objective of the present study was to determine whether positive reinforcement training (PRT) and exposure...
Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...
Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...

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