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. 

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...

Video-based markerless motion capture permits quantification of an animal's pose and motion, with a high spatiotemporal resolution in a naturalistic context, and is a powerful tool for analyzing the relationship between the animal's behaviors and...

The aim of this study was to investigate if calves’ play behaviour and non-nutritive sucking behaviour, as indirect measures of welfare status, are associated with the age of the calf when group housed, age when...

The quality of the social environment should be studied as one of the welfare components of dairy herds. Licking and preference between cows are important socio-positive experiences in this context.The aims of this study were...

Wild great apes build beds for sleeping by combining tree branches or other vegetation, but the development of this behavior is poorly understood. We investigated the development of bed-building behaviors by conducting complementary cross-sectional and...

Chimpanzees in zoos with sufficient and appropriate environmental enrichment devices are expected to exhibit behaviors, interactions, and societies similar to those in the wild. In this study, we compared the activity budgets of each observed...

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...

Dairy housing systems can have major implications on how freely cows move within their environment and how fully they can express their behavioral repertoire, impacting overall welfare. To ensure housing systems are meeting the needs...

Access to limited resources may be achieved by dominance as well as by high rates of aggressive and affiliative behaviour. We investigated the relative effectiveness of dominance rank and aggressive and affiliative behaviour in accessing...

Social grooming is often exchanged between individuals in many primate species. Rates of bidirectional (or simultaneous mutual) grooming vary across primate species, and its function is not yet fully understood. For example, mutual grooming is...

For over a century, the practice of deflighting has taken place in zoological collections in order to ensure birds remain in open-topped enclosures. Over time, efforts have been made to improve or develop new (surgical)...

Many animal species cooperate with conspecifics in various social contexts. While ultimate causes of cooperation are being studied extensively, its proximate causes, particularly endocrine mechanisms, have received comparatively little attention. Here, we present a study...

Comparative thanatology encompasses the study of death-related responses in non-human animals and aspires to elucidate the evolutionary origins of human behavior in the context of death. Many reports have revealed that humans are not the...

Primates maintain social bonds with specific individuals in the group by directing grooming toward them. Social grooming is often targeted toward individuals with whom the most benefits can be exchanged, which are usually the high-ranking...

For gregarious species such as domestic cattle, the social environment is a very important determinant of their welfare and fitness. Understanding the complexity of cows' relationships can assist the development of management practices that are...

While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...

Stereotypies are frequently associated with sub-optimal captive environments and are used as welfare indicators. However, susceptibility to stereotypy can vary across individuals of the same group. As such, identifying which individuals are more susceptible to...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

The typical daily water intake of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) in a research setting has not been well characterized. Because these New World primates are in demand as animal models for neurobehavioral experiments, which can...

The keeping of gibbons in a captive environment and recreating an appropriate habitat is essential to enable them to exhibit species-specific behaviour. This research was designed to provide baseline data on the activity budgets of...

Nonhuman primate gestures are believed to be crucial evolutionary precursors of human language. Comparative studies on primate gestures in an evolutionary framework have, however, remained largely restricted to the great apes and the potential flexibility...

The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of different enrichments in various enclosures in a gibbon rehabilitation centre in the northeast of India. The results show a greater interaction with the feeding...

In adult songbirds, the primary functions of song are mate attraction and territory defense; yet, many songbirds sing at high rates as juveniles and outside these primary contexts as adults. Singing outside primary contexts is...

The past few decades have seen a burgeoning of scientific studies on great apes’ use of nests for sleeping in the wild, as well as their nesting behavior and sleep in captivity. We review recent...

Many comparative studies have focused on the emergence of solitary and social play in early development, however, few consider observer and parallel forms of play. In this study, we analyzed approximately 21 h of video recordings...

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