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...

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...

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 serval (Leptailurus serval) is a small African felid that is well represented in zoos and often serves as an animal ambassador in encounter programs with zoo visitors. The impact on serval welfare in relation...

Information regarding the physiology of African lions is scarce, mainly due to challenges associated with essential routine research procedures. The aim of this experiment was to test the possibility of training six captive lionesses by...

Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...

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...

Achieving and maintaining high standards of animal welfare is critical to the success of a modern zoo. Research has shown that an animal's welfare is highly dependent on how various individual animal factors (e.g., species...

This ethical discourse specifically deals with dilemmas encountered within zoological institutions, namely for the concept of natural living, and a new term—wilding. It is agreed by some that zoos are not ethically wrong in principle...

Relationships between animals and their human caretakers can have profound impacts on animal welfare in farms, laboratories and zoos, while human attitudes are important predictors of caretaker behavior towards livestock. In this study, we examined...

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...

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...

The current extinction crisis leaves us increasingly reliant on captive populations to maintain vulnerable species. Approximately one third of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are living in semi-captive conditions in range countries. Their relationship with humans...

In comparison to non-human animals, humans are highly flexible in cooperative tasks, which may be a result of their ability to understand a partner’s role in such interactions. Here, we tested if wolves and dogs...

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...

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...

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 nonhuman animals in captivity for participation in routine husbandry procedures is believed to produce a lower stress environment compared with undergoing a general anesthetic event for the same procedure. This hypothesis rests largely on...

As recorded in domestic nonhuman animals, regular interactions between animals in zoos and keepers and the resulting relationship formed (human– animal relationship [HAR]) are likely to influence the animals’ behaviors with associated welfare consequences. HAR...

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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