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. 

Rabbits are the third species in terms of number of animals reared for meat production in the world. However, in comparison to other species, very few studies have focused on their welfare. The aim of...

Despite the importance for both animal welfare and scientific integrity of effective welfare assessment in non-human primates, there has been little or no consensus as what should be assessed. A Delphi consultation process was undertaken...

Some captive breeding colonies of rhesus macaques live in large outdoor multimale, multifemale social groups. These groups are composed of several matrilineal families, governed by a clear female dominance hierarchy. Aggression within the same or...

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...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

Measuring body surface temperature changes with infrared thermography has recently been put forward as a non-invasive alternative measure of physiological correlates of emotional reactions. In particular, the nasal region seems to be highly sensitive to...

In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of zoo-based touchscreen studies of animal cognition around the world. Such studies have contributed to the field of comparative cognition despite the...

The genetic and biological similarity between non-human primates and humans has ensured the continued use of primates in biomedical research where other species cannot be used. Health-monitoring programmes for non-human primates provide an approach to...

Pacing behaviour, the most frequent stereotypic behaviour displayed by laboratory rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) is often used as an indicator of stress. In this study, we investigated how reliable this welfare indicator is at detecting...

Salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) enzyme functions as a digestive enzyme in many species that consume starch in their diet. Human studies have also revealed that sAA enzyme activity levels are positively correlated with the release of...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

Housing primates in naturalistic groups provides social benefits relative to solitary housing. However, food intake may vary across individuals, possibly resulting in overweight and underweight individuals. Information on relative adiposity (the amount of fat tissue...

Activity budget comparisons between groups or individuals in the wild and those in captivity are commonly used to determine the range of wild-type behaviors that nonhuman animals in captivity perform. These comparisons are conducted with...

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

There are no proven species-specific indicators of pain in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). The analysis of facial expressions has proven to be a repeatable, accurate and valid method of identifying pain in multiple species, but...

Facial thermography has enabled researchers to noninvasively and continuously measure the changes of a range of emotional states in humans. The present work used this novel technology to study the effect of positive and negative...

Marine mammals include cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, sea otters and polar bears, many of which are charismatic and popular species commonly kept under human care in zoos and aquaria. However, in comparison with their fully terrestrial...

For humans and for non-human primates heart rate is a reliable indicator of an individual’s current physiological state, with applications ranging from health checks to experimental studies of cognitive and emotional state. In humans, changes...

Many animals display a suite of increased vigilance and/or activity responses in relation to upcoming events, termed “anticipatory behavior.” Anticipatory behavior toward positive events has been suggested as a cross‐species measure of affective state as...

Scoring and tracking animal movements manually is a time consuming and subjective process, susceptible to errors due to fatigue. Automated and semi-automated video-based tracking methods have been developed to overcome the errors and biases of...

Cognitive bias tests measure variation in emotional appraisal and are validated methods to assess animals’ affective states. However, the link between social behaviours and cognitive bias has not yet been investigated. Bottlenose dolphins are a...

Gastritis is a commonly diagnosed condition in non-human primates used in biomedical research. As in humans, Helicobacter pylori infection may cause gastritis. The following report presents a method of non-invasive detection and a successful treatment...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 1 November 2016 at the University of Edinburgh and was attended by 70 delegates. Presentation topics included refinements in blood sampling rodents...

Dolphins in a captive setting can be occasionally subjected to a variety of potentially stressful situations. The stress response comprises a variety of biological reactions to internal or external stimuli elicited when an individual perceives...

Animal welfare science is a burgeoning field, but research on cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) is lacking. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are the most well-known and studied cetaceans, particularly in captivity, and thus are used...

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