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. 

Anxiety is a physio-psychological state anticipating an imminent threat. In social mammals it is behaviorally expressed via displacement activities and buffered via affiliation. Anxiety research on domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) has mostly focused on abnormal/stereotypic...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

This poster describes how the Animal Technologists at Envigo adapted their current practices and procedures for a new species at their laboratory: the cotton rat. The paper describes cotton rat biology and behaviour; housing; environmental...

When individuals exchange helpful acts reciprocally, increasing the benefit of the receiver can enhance its propensity to return a favour, as pay-offs are typically correlated in iterated interactions. Therefore, reciprocally cooperating animals should consider the...

Nose contact is a frequent form of social behaviour in pigs, but the motivational reasons underlying this behaviour remain unclear. We investigated the frequency, direction and type of sow–piglet nosing behaviour and its association with...

Social play is associated with the experience of positive emotions in higher vertebrates and may be used as a measure of animal welfare. Altering motivation to play (e.g., through short-term social isolation) can temporarily affect...

The behavioral patterns of Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) housed individually and in same-sex groups (siblings) were characterized. Gerbils were continuously video-recorded 24 hours (day 1) and 120 hours (day 5) after housing conditions were established...

Animal contests are costly and predicted to be won by the individual with the higher resource-holding potential (RHP). Weight is often used a proxy for RHP; however, victory does not always go to the heaviest...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

Intensively housed domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) have little opportunity to perform diverse foraging behaviour though they still seem strongly motivated to do so. Here, we investigated whether the execution of specific behaviours may in itself...

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...

Standard laboratory cages prevent rats (Rattus norvegicus) from performing many behaviours that they perform in the wild, but little is known about how this may affect their welfare. The aims of this study were (i)...

Covering species-typical behavior as well as abnormal/malfunctional behavior and stereotypes observed in mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils, this is an excellent resource for those looking to implement or enhance an existing behavioral husbandry and enrichment...

In spite of domestication, sows are still genetically programmed to perform nesting behaviour close to farrowing. In order to facilitate nest building, a method for a strategic use of large quantities of straw has been...

When playing, rats emit 50-kHz calls which may function as play signals. A previous study using devocalized rats provides support for the hypothesis that 50-kHz function to promote and maintain playful interactions (Kisko et al...

During playful interactions, juvenile rats emit many 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations, which are associated with a positive affective state. In addition, these calls may also serve a communicative role – as play signals that promote playful...

In mammals, helping is preferentially provided to members of one’s own group. Yet, it remains unclear how social experience shapes pro-social motivation. We found that rats helped trapped strangers by releasing them from a restrainer...

The aim of the present work was to study nest building, posture changes and the overall activity budget of gilts in pens vs. crates. Twenty-three HB gilts (high piglet survival day 5) and 21 LB...

During playful interactions, rats emit increased levels of 50-kHz vocalizations. It is possible that these vocalizations are used as play signals that promote and maintain playful contact. The study investigated this possibility. It was predicted...

Despite growing interest in promoting positive welfare, rather than just alleviating poor welfare, potential measures of good welfare, and means to provide it, have remained elusive. In humans social support improves stress-coping abilities, health, and...

Pigs may affect each other's health, welfare and productivity through their behaviour. The effect of a pig on the growth rate of its pen mates is partly heritable and is referred to as its social...

Following a two-week introduction period, pairs of rats were put inside an arena. One was trapped inside a central restrainer, while the other roamed free in the larger space. By day six or seven, on...

In this review, swine behavior and various methods of enrichment are discussed. The review is based on both published journal articles and anecdotal successful enrichment methods that were shared recently on CompMed Listserve.

The Guide for the Care and Use of Animals and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) outline minimum space requirements for laboratory animals, including rabbits. These documents encourage housing of animals in enclosures that allow...

The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...

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