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. 
Evidence-based approaches are key to advancing all areas of zoo and aquarium practice. Output from empirical study must be disseminated to those within the industry so that results can support changes to husbandry and management...
Increased environmental complexity can improve animal welfare, depending on the resources provided and use by the animal. We provided chickens either with physical items that posed no biosecurity risk and were inexpensive (balls, chains, perches...
Enrichment during the indoor rearing of pullets destined for free-range systems may optimize pullet development including increasing motivated natural behaviors (termed ‘positive behaviors’) including foraging, dust bathing and chick play. Hy-Line Brown® chicks (n =...
Environmental enrichment has been widely studied in rodents, but there is no consensus on what enrichment should look like or what it should achieve. Inconsistent use of the term “enrichment” creates challenges in drawing conclusions...
There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours...
In conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...
Injurious pecking, commonly controlled by beak trimming (BT), is a widespread issue in laying hens associated with thwarted foraging. This controlled study compared the effect in intact and beak-trimmed pullets of providing pecking pans to...
Hens in free-range systems are given enrichments to increase foraging and limit injurious pecking, but the efficacy of enrichment types requires investigation. We studied hen behaviour and feather cover in eight commercial free-range flocks each...
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) constitute a useful model for studying memory function and impairment in vertebrates and are now widely used in translational research. On the one hand, the adoption of simple, fast and reliable tests...
An important behavioral need for laying hens is perching, but few studies have investigated perching behavior in commercial broiler breeder pullets. The aim of this study was to investigate perching behavior throughout the pullet period...
Numerous studies ascertained positive effects of enriched environments on the well-being of laboratory animals including behavioral, physiological and neurochemical parameters. Conversely, such conclusions imply impaired animal welfare and health in barren husbandry conditions. Moreover, inappropriate...
Small animal models are frequently used to improve our understanding of the molecular and biological signaling pathways underlying the beneficial effects of physical activity and exercise. Unfortunately, when running wheels are employed, mice and rats...
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...
Shelters are frequently used for fish rearing to improve welfare conditions. In this study, whether Nile tilapia prefers specific shelter colors was evaluated. Thus, fish preference for white, red, blue, green or yellow shelters was...
The environment provided for animals in captivity is less complex than its natural habitat, which generates a stressful condition. Environmental enrichment tries to meet the animals’ ethological and psychological needs. This paper aims to evaluate...
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 zebrafish (Danio rerio) is widely used as a promising translational model organism for studying various brain disorders. Zebrafish are also commonly used in behavioral and drug screening assays utilizing individually tested (socially isolated) fish...
The endangered Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is currently distributed as a single wild population of 670 individuals and ∼400 captive animals globally. Although the captive lions are major hope for the species’ long-term conservation...
Animals are often kept in conditions with low environmental complexity and for long periods in barren artificial environments. This has been shown to lead to poor welfare in many species of animals. We assessed the...
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...
Good practice for the housing and care of laboratory zebrafish Danio rerio is an increasingly discussed topic, with focus on appropriate water quality parameters, stocking densities, feeding regimes, anaesthesia and analgesia practices, methods of humane...
We tested whether territorial fish (Nile tilapia) perceive body tactile stimulation as a positive or negative resource. Individual male fish were placed for eight days in an aquarium containing a rectangular PVC frame, which was...
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...
The recognition of novel objects is a common cognitive test for rodents, but current paradigms have limitations, such as low sensitivity, possible odor confounds and stress due to being performed outside of the homecage. We...

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