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. 
Animal welfare is important for the humane treatment of animals under our care. Zoos and rescue centres manage various charismatic animals, such as big cats, with limited resources. It is therefore essential for caretakers to...
Accelerometers offer unique opportunities to study the behaviour of cryptic animals but require validation to show their accuracy in identifying behaviours. This validation is often undertaken in captivity before use in the wild. While zoos...
Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...
Finding and utilizing the specific taste preferences of the rhesus macaque in the laboratory setting can be a valuable step towards promoting cooperative, positively reinforced training. It can also be a wonderful tool for enrichment...
Despite clear benefits of PRT for NHPs and biomedical research, investigators often view the investment in personnel expertise and time required to train animals as deterrents towards adopting PRT. We provide an example of how...
How many of us have had this experience? We go to a conference, we read an article, we watch a video. We understand operant conditioning. We grasp the concepts behind clicker training, target training, and...
In neurophysiology, nonhuman primates represent an important model for studying the brain. Typically, monkeys are moved from their home cage to an experimental room daily, where they sit in a primate chair and interact with...
Although alpacas are becoming increasingly popular animals, their behaviour towards humans has received little research interest until now. The purpose of our study was to investigate, for the first time, associations between caretaker attitudes and...
When we treat an animal’s welfare as an individual experience, we should consider the possibility that it may be associated with individual differences in personality. We tested for such associations in 44 socially housed rhesus...
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...
Interest in marmosets as research models has seen exponential growth over the last decade, especially given that the research community is eager to improve on gaps with historical animal models for behavioral and cognitive disorders...
In a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...
Collaborative semen collection in monkeys is a valuable tool in research, animal collection management, and conservation efforts. To obtain samples, monkeys are often restrained in open restraint chairs (ORC) with the “pole and collar” technique...
Previous reports suggest that female macaques with greater similarity in emotionality and nervous temperament, as evaluated in a well-established BioBehavioral Assessment (BBA) at the California National Primate Research Center, were more likely to form successful...
Many articles have shown the benefits of operant conditioning training techniques in the care and welfare of several species of nonhuman primates; however, the information regarding their use in strepsirrhine species is scarce. We assessed...
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...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is a component of a comprehensive species-appropriate enrichment program to train specific species behaviors and reduce the stress on animals. Our facility has historically used PRT with nonhuman primates, so we...
Cattle are subjected to routine procedures that require restraint and close contact to humans, which are both potentially aversive to the animal. Positive reinforcement training techniques may affect how animals perceive and respond to these...
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...
Personality is often defined as the behaviour of individual animals that is consistent across contexts and over time. Personality traits may become unstable during stages of ontogeny from infancy to adulthood, especially during major periods...
This article describes a protocol for training capuchins for co-operative feeding. Three months after beginning the training, the two dominant individuals consistently stay stationed, calmly focused, and the keeper is able to hand the subordinate...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is associated with increases in species-typical behavior and decreases in stereotypic and abnormal behavior in participating animals. Physiological changes following PRT, for example, increases in oxytocin (OXT) and/or decreases in cortisol...
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...
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...

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