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. 
Members of the North American 3Rs Collaborative (NA3RsC) refinement initiative have chosen to summarize developments in five hot topics of interest: 1. Tips for welfare-friendly transport, chairing, and restraint; 2. Guidance on refining food and...
This article describes the strategies employed by Kumamoto Sanctuary in Japan to integrate 3 retired chimpanzees – who each spent 30 years singly housed in a biomedical facility – with the sanctuary’s other residents.
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...
The euthanasia of cane toads under field conditions presents a number of logistical and animal welfare challenges. One recommended method of control involves the use of carbon dioxide in plastic bags. This paper describes the...
The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...
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...
The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...
Larval, or tadpole-stage Xenopus laevis frogs are a popular research model for developmental biology and disease studies. Existing euthanasia guidance documents offer recommendations for both eggs and adult stages, yet do not specifically address the...
Captive bolts or firearms are unsuitable for euthanasia of livestock when an intact brain is required for diagnostics. Injectable barbiturates can be used, but this method carries risk of poisoning animals eating the carcase. Intravenous...
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...
This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.
The marmoset, a type of small monkey native to South America, is a research model of increasing importance for biomedical research in the United States and globally. Marmosets offer a range of advantages as animal...
NHP are a small, but critical, portion of the animals studied in research laboratories. Many NHP are imported or raised at one facility and subsequently moved to another facility for research purposes. To improve our...
The aim of this study was to assess hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that were subjected to relocation and surgery to evaluate HPA-axis activity; in addition, we used this marker...
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1-grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate lambs (Ovis aries) of 4.464 kg (SD...
Head-to-body stunning is regarded as ‘best practice’ stunning for sheep. The benefits are loss of consciousness followed by cardiac arrest, death, prevention of animal movements post stun/kill and improved meat quality. Commercial equipment places electrodes...
One challenge in providing enrichment to NHP arises following completion of their assigned studies (retired) when there tends to be a sudden decrease in provision of daily human interaction and overall stimulation that results from...
Nonhuman primates from domestic sources constitute a small, but critical, proportion of animals studied in research laboratories. Many of these nonhuman primates are raised at one facility and subsequently transported/relocated to another facility for research...
To investigate how long relocation modified hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits, 19 rabbits were subjected to a change in their breeding facility at the beginning of the trial and then were kept...
The commercial meat rabbit industry is without validated on-farm euthanasia methods, potentially resulting in inadequate euthanasia protocols. We evaluated blunt force trauma (BFT), a mechanical cervical dislocation device (MCD), and a non-penetrating captive bolt device...
The level of glucocorticoids, especially if obtained from noninvasive sampling, can be used as an index of animal well-being, allowing evaluation of the animal’s response to environmental modifications. Despite evidence that these hormones play a...
Marmota monax is a valuable laboratory animal species used in studies of Hepatitis B virus (HBV), food intake, obesity, hibernation, and circannual cycles. This article describes the woodchuck’s (also known as groundhog) natural behavior and...
Understanding the factors associated with the long-term stress levels of captive animals is important from the view of animal welfare. In this study, we investigated the effects of relocation in addition to individual and environmental...
The maintenance of head-only minimum stunning currents for sheep to ≥ 1.0 Amp as per current legislation was examined in two trials in a commercial abattoir. In the first trial, a Jetco MS100 stunner failed...
The most widely used stunning method in sheep is electrical. However, in lambs, this method leads to rupture of the blood vessels, provoking ecchymoses. In pigs (Sus scrofa), the use of CO2-stunning systems has increased...

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