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. 

Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) are an economically and ecologically important fish species that interact with humans during farming, fishing and research operations. Routine handling in nets exposes fish to mesh and causes scale loss. To...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

Physical touch can help to decrease the effects of stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of tactile stimulation on the hormonal and behavioral responses of young adult rats submitted to...

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...

General anesthesia is a common procedure in laboratory rats; however, it impairs thermoregulation, rapidly leading to hypothermia as warm core blood is distributed to the cooler periphery. The protective strategy of prewarming before the onset...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 26 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues, and share experiences of...

Skin closure clips are widely used within the University of Edinburgh to close incision sites for various procedures in both rats and mice. In rats the skin closure clips very often come out as a...

Fishes in captivity, such as those used in laboratory research, may experience handling on a regular basis. In the laboratory, handling is usually done with dip-nets, and involves pursuit, confinement and capture and removal of...

There is a growing interest in the use of voluntarily displayed ongoing behaviours in laboratory animals to assess the pain experience. In rats, two behavioural pain scales, the Rat Grimace Scale (RGS, a facial expression...

Our rat training program teaches the standard method of handling and restraining that involves picking the rat up by the base of the tail and placing it on the wire mesh to be restrained. We...

Rabbits are known to be finicky about food and will reject it based upon several factors: odor, texture, form, or method of presentation. It can be an even greater challenge to get rabbits to eat...

This feature describes creative ways in which technology can be used to study animals within their home cages, eliminating the need to handle, restrain, and separate them from cage mates. One example includes voluntary brain...

Aquatic vertebrates and cephalopods, amphibians, reptiles, and birds offer unique safety and occupational health challenges for laboratory animal personnel. This paper discusses environmental, handling, and zoonotic concerns associated with these species.

The ornamental fish trade is estimated to handle up to 1.5 billion fishes. Transportation and handling of fishes imposes a range of stressors that can result in mortality at rates of up to 73%. Given...

Gentling can reduce the fear reactions of young laboratory rats toward people long term. We were able to show this outcome in a previous study that involved a successful but elaborate gentling program. In the...

Specific positioning for different imaging modalities is essential in our small animal imaging core. While we have different animal holders designed to position the animal inside the MRI, additional securing of the animal to the...

Social housing is recommended for laboratory rats because they are highly social mammals but research constraints or medical issues often demand individual housing and, when social housing is practiced, it typically involves housing with only...

Routine laboratory procedures can be stressful for laboratory animals. We wanted to determine whether human handling of adult rabbits could induce a degree of habituation, reducing stress and facilitating research-related manipulation. To this end, adult...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group holds a one-day meeting every autumn so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on rodent welfare issues and share experiences of the implementation of the 3Rs...

Although loud noise and intense vibration are known to alter the behavior and phenotype of laboratory animals, little is known about the effects of nearby construction. We studied the effect of a nearby construction project...

Rats can be playfully handled (tickled) in a manner that mimics playful social contact with conspecifics. We hypothesized that the timing of tickling in relation to an intraperitoneal injection would affect the efficacy of tickling...

We conclude that handling experimental animals more often than only at the time their cage is changes is beneficial.

COST Action B-24 established four working groups to research and discuss issues relevant to laboratory animal science. These included the housing of animals, environmental needs, refinement of procedures, genetically modified animals, and cost-benefit analysis. Based...

Our experience-based discussion suggests that social animals benefit from compatible companionship during post-operative recovery. The traditional practice of keeping animals alone in an unfamiliar environment after surgery increases the subjects surgery-associated stress. Providing a familiar...

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