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. 
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...
The research community is committed to improving the well-being of nonhuman primates by providing opportunities to express species-specific behaviors such as foraging. In the wild, macaques spend a large part of their day foraging; this...
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...
The YNPRC recently renovated two NHP housing areas with a novel facility design and equipped with a customized caging system that offers additional outdoor access, socialization, and enrichment opportunities for NHPs assigned to infectious disease...
Providing novel and creative enrichments for nonhuman primates improves their mental wellbeing and is thus an important aspect of all husbandry programs. These enrichments are often presented through variations in diet, toys, and environmental features...
This traditional snack has a variety of options for NHP enrichment. From fruit to cereals, get creative with the “ants” and remember to consider different fillings for the celery log.
Apart from species-typical foraging behavior, a large body of the literature addresses enriching captive marmoset environments through structural and housing adaptations to promote activity and exploration. These studies simulate vertical elements and climbing substrates in...
Improving captive environments for primates has been an important tool to enhance animal welfare. One method has been to provide primates with naturalistic vegetated enclosures to promote species-specific behaviors, enhancing interactions with their social and...
We report on the development and testing of a portable touchscreen apparatus and accompanying software program for primate enrichment, cognitive research, and husbandry applications. For zoos considering using technology to bolster scientific efforts or enhance...
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is strongly associated with animal health and wellbeing. To identify possible problems of the indoor environment of macaques (Macaca spp.), we assessed the IAQ. The temperature (°C), relative humidity (%) and...
Environmental enrichment provides mental stimulation and minimizes abnormal behaviors in captive animals. In captive chimpanzees, individual animals may vary in the ways in which they benefit from enrichment or use enrichment devices, so investigating nuances...
The re-release of golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia), from zoos into the wild, is considered to be an ex situ conservation success story. However, zoo-born golden lion tamarins have lower survival rates than their wild-born...
Animal welfare is critical to buffer stress in captive animals and to ensure the reliability of data from studies. The most usual environmental enrichment technique (EE) for social non-human primates is the social enrichment. However...
Enrichment devices are important tools to engage zoo-housed animals in species-specific natural behaviours, which is critical to ensure animal welfare. The gelada Theropithecus gelada has a unique graminivorous feeding ecology, yet there is minimal enrichment...
Many wild animals perform hiding behaviours for a variety of reasons, such as evading predators or other conspecifics. Unlike their wild counterparts, farmed animals often live in relatively barren environments without the opportunity to hide...
Foraging devices are effective enrichment tools for non-human primates, as they provide both cognitive and manipulative stimulation that may enhance these animals’ welfare. We assessed the behavioral effects of a novel tool-based enrichment on 14...
During the author's 37 years as Curator of Horticulture, Dublin Zoo transformed from an almost Victorian appearance to a verdant green ark. A progressive masterplan focused on animal welfare and themed habitats reflects the spirit...
Computer-enabled screen systems containing visual elements have long been employed with captive primates for assessing preference, reactions and for husbandry reasons. These screen systems typically play visual enrichment to primates without them choosing to trigger...
This great cool-down snack is ideal for group or singly housed swine or nonhuman primates (particularly in larger pen-style housing). This item can be customized for canines as well by modifying the liquid used and/or...
At the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, NHPs may need to be singly housed for research purposes or veterinary care, and it can be challenging to keep them optimally enriched. This sometimes results in...
As we learn more about the importance of gene-environment interactions and the effects of environmental enrichment, it becomes evident that minimalistic laboratory conditions can affect gene expression patterns and behaviors of model organisms. In the...
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...
Captive breeding is vital for primate conservation, with modern zoos serving a crucial role in breeding populations of threatened species and educating the general public. However, captive populations can experience welfare issues that may also...
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...

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