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. 
Prevention of pain in rabbits is a priority for both welfare and validity of scientific data. We aimed to determine if the rabbit grimace scale (RbtGS) could be used as a viable, rapid assessment tool...
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...
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...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
Husbandry procedures and facility settings, such as low-frequency fire alarms, can produce noises in a laboratory environment that cause stress to animals used in research. However, most of the data demonstrating harmful effects that have...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
Group size, density, and composition significantly influence the expression of agonism and, as demography is frequently manipulated in captivity, natural mechanisms of conflict management may be disrupted. Here, we examine how changes to the social...
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...
Thanks to its small size, external fertilization and fecundity, over the past four decades, zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become the dominant fish model species in biological and biomedical research. Multiple lines of evidence, however, suggest...
Vertebrates possess circadian clocks, driven by transcriptional–translational loops of clock genes, to orchestrate anticipatory physiological adaptations to cyclic environmental changes. This work aims to investigate how the absence of a light-dark cycle and a feeding...
Mouse deer are primitive, forest ungulates found in Asia and Africa. Both the lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus) and the Philippine mouse deer (T. nigricans) are managed in European zoos, but inconsistent breeding success between...
The study aimed to determine whether artificial shade influences grazing behavior and body weight of pregnant female red deer. Two groups of pregnant does were grazed in enclosures with shade (WS, n = 23), or non-shaded enclosures...
Despite how frequently stereotypic behaviours are discussed in the field of animal behaviour and welfare, research on stereotypies in captive elasmobranchs is far less represented in the literature compared to studies on mammalian species. This...
There are a multitude of health monitoring techniques/ methods available. It can be difficult to know which of these to use and when to use them. This is an attempt to simplify, maximise the efficacy...
Bodyweight is an important health and welfare indicator for captive non-human primates (NHPs). Bodyweight can be measured during routine handling procedures, which cause stress. Alternatively, animals can be trained to step onto a scale, but...
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...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...
Globally, many zoological collections provide their animals with diets that are chopped into small chunks, yet there is limited empirical research to measure the benefits of this practice. Preparing chopped diets takes considerable amounts of...
In 2017 Bristol Zoological Gardens received two Goodfellow tree kangaroos. As this was a new marsupial species for the collection, keepers attended the European Symposium on tree kangaroos to better improve our husbandry, knowledge and...
Understanding food preference among animals in human care can support improvements to welfare through training and day-to-day care (e.g., diet management). Little has been published about food preference in zoo-housed meerkats. Assessing meerkat food preference...
Managing social groups in zoos requires controlling reproduction in individuals that do not have a current breeding recommendation, while simultaneously maintaining social harmony and animal well-being. Contraceptives, such as gonadotropin releasing-hormone (GnRH) agonists, that suppress...
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)...
Color perception and color signaling play an important role in various aspects of animal behavior. However, in mammals, trichromatic vision characterized by three retinal photopigments tuned to peak short, middle and long wavelengths is limited...
Broodstock rearing conditions and handling procedures should be optimized in aquaculture species in order to benefit fish welfare and guarantee optimal conditions for spawning. In teleosts, basal cortisol levels display daily rhythms, oscillating along the...
Anthropogenic sources increasingly contribute to the underwater soundscape and this may negatively impact aquatic life, including fish. Anthropogenic sound may mask relevant sound, alter behaviour, physiology, and may lead to physical injury. Behavioural effect studies...

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