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. 

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...

In a captive environment, it is challenging to ensure the highest level of social and psychological well-being for species with naturally complex social organizations and structures. There is a growing need to meet the social...

Physiotherapy can be used to treat an animal following surgery, to help correcting abnormal gait and for treating tendon, bone or ligament damage. […] Of course, an animal can’t just be given a set of...

Traditional laboratory caging for nonhuman primates is typically configured in a 2-tiered manner, with caging arranged in 2 horizontal rows stacked vertically. Studies of the effects of cage row have yielded inconsistent results with respect...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

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...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

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 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...

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...

The question of 'if and how captive primates are affected by visitors' has gained increasing attention over the last decades. Although the majority reported undesirable effects on behavior and wellbeing, many studies reported contradicting results...

Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) used in behavioural neuroscience are often required to complete cognitively complex tasks, for which a high level of motivation is essential. To induce motivation, researchers may implement fluid-restriction protocols, whereby freely...

Zoological institutions often encourage cooperative interactions between keepers and animals so as to promote animals' welfare. One useful technique has been conditioning training, whereby animals learn to respond to keepers' requests, which facilitates a number...

Chimpanzees demand specialized housing and care and the highest degree of attention to animal welfare. The current project used a survey method to collate information on chimpanzee housing and behavioral indices of welfare across all...

Training nonhuman primates (NHPs) to perform cognitive tasks is essential for many neuroscientific investigations, yet laboratory training is a time-consuming process with inherent limitations. Habituating NHPs to the laboratory staff and experimental equipment can take...

Voluntary participation in behavioural studies offers several scientific, management, and welfare benefits to non-human primates (NHPs). Aside from the scientific benefit of increased understanding of NHP cognition, sociality, and behaviour derived from noninvasive behavioural studies...

Interactions between zoo professionals and animals occur regularly and are believed to be enriching for animals. Little empirical information exists on how animals perceive these interactions, and particularly how the interactions affect the emotional states...

Preference testing has many benefits, informing both applied management decisions and theoretical questions. We developed a preference‐testing method in which subjects are shown pairs of photographs of food items on a touchscreen in a forced‐choice...

Some primates express fear of or avoid interaction with humans, including accepting food. Counter‐conditioning training designed to reduce fear and increase the acceptance of food from a person's hand can reduce the stress an animal...

Some husbandry procedures may be perceived as aversive by cage‐housed rhesus macaques. We assessed whether providing feeding enrichment by hand as opposed to placing it on a caging surface decreases anxiety responses to daily husbandry...

The use of systematic preference assessments can enhance positive reinforcement training with captive animals. We found that the multiple stimulus without replacement (MSWO) technique identified food preferences in laboratory housed rhesus macaques, with raisins and...

There can be psychological and physiological consequences resulting from nursery rearing rhesus macaques. To reduce the need for nursery rearing, orphaned infants are often placed with lactating foster mothers. Unfortunately, a supply of these lactating...

Macaques are often motivated to perform in neuroscientific experiments by implementing fluid restriction protocols. Daily access to water is controlled and the monkeys are rewarded with droplets of fluid for performing correct trials in the...

There has been increased recognition of the 3Rs in laboratory animal management over the last decade, including improvements in animal handling and housing. For example, positive reinforcement is now more widely used to encourage primates...

Training techniques that prepare laboratory animals to participate in testing via cooperation are useful tools that have the potential to benefit animal wellbeing. Understanding how animals systematically vary in their cooperative training trajectories will help...

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