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. 
Husbandry training and environmental enrichment are both important advancements associated with current behavioural welfare practices. Additionally, the use of training procedures has been proposed as a form of enrichment, with the implication that training can...
Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...
How many of us have had this experience? We go to a conference, we read an article, we watch a video. We understand operant conditioning. We grasp the concepts behind clicker training, target training, and...
Professional animal trainer now Animal Health Technician explains various animal training terms and concepts.
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...
The RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 27 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and share...
This study aimed to define appropriate humane endpoints (HEs) for an animal model of colorectal carcinogenesis (CRC). Twenty-nine male Wistar rats were divided into two control groups (CTRL1 and CTRL2) injected with ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid...
Research animals are important for scientific advancement, and therefore, their long-term welfare needs to be monitored to not only minimize suffering, but to provide positive affective states and experiences. Currently, there is limited guidance in...
Oro-gastric gavage is used to accurately administer nutritional substances or drugs to animals. However, it induces stress and has a substantial risk of mishap. Incorporation into edible gels is difficult for lipid-based preparations. We report...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is associated with increases in species-typical behavior and decreases in stereotypic and abnormal behavior in participating animals. Physiological changes following PRT, for example, increases in oxytocin (OXT) and/or decreases in cortisol...
Since 1997, APOPO, a non-profit organization based in Tanzania, has deployed African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys ansorgei) to detect landmines in post-conflict areas. More recent research suggests the pouched rats can also be trained to...
In many animal experiments scientists and local authorities define a body-weight reduction of 20% or more as severe suffering and thereby as a potential parameter for humane endpoint decisions. In this study, we evaluated distinct...
The Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS) at the Royal Veterinary College in London suggested providing post-operative pain relief (carprofen) to rats in raspberry flavoured jelly to avoid the use of s.c. injections. This article provides a...
Humane endpoint determination is fundamental in animal experimentation. Despite commonly accepted endpoint criteria for intracranial tumour models (20% body weight loss and deteriorated clinical score) some animals still die before being euthanized in current research...
This article describes the handling and training protocols for mice and rats in preparation for their use in toxicology studies at the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE).
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...
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...
A primary goal in preclinical animal research is respectful and responsible care aimed toward minimizing stress and discomfort while enhancing collection of accurate and reproducible scientific data. Researchers use hands-on clinical observations and measurements as...
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...
The actions of human caretakers strongly influence animals living under human care. Here, we consider how intentional and unintentional signals provided by caretakers can inform our assessment of animals' well-being as well as help to...
This study examined the effectiveness in rats of ‘returning to home cage’ as a reward for learning a Lashley III maze. Rats could return to their home cage directly (Direct HC group) or they could...
Food rewards are commonly used as positive reinforcement in rodent behavioral experiments. Bioserv dustless precision pellets and Noyes formula P precision pellets are both used for this purpose in behavioral experiments in multiple laboratories, as...
The Scientific Committee of the Swiss Laboratory Animal Science Association (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Versuchstierkunde, SGV) reports on the Annual SGV Meeting held on 28 and 29 November 2017, at Technopark, Zürich, Switzerland. Feedback after the...
Preference testing has many benefits, informing both applied management decisions and theoretical questions. We developed a preference‐testing method in which subjects are shown pairs of photographs of food items on a touchscreen in a forced‐choice...
Curcumin, a polyphenol derived from turmeric, has a wide variety of therapeutic benefits including antiinflammatory, antioxidative, and chemopreventative effects. Oral gavage is widely performed to administer curcumin in laboratory rodents in several experimental models. Although...

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