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. 

Background: Conventional methods for individually housing, training, and testing rodents in behavioral assays can impose constraints that may limit some kinds of experimental external validity, preempt environmental enrichment, impose heavy experimenter time burdens that limit...

There are instances when animals are introduced and expected to live alongside unfamiliar conspecifics within zoos, laboratories and wildlife sanctuaries. These pairings of unfamiliar animals may result in stress, trauma, or even death, in addition...

The presence of a conspecific can be calming to some species of animal during stress, a phenomenon known as social buffering. For rodents, social buffering can reduce the perception of and reaction to aversive experiences...

The increased use of opioids to treat pain has led to a dramatic increase in opioid abuse. Our previous data indicate that pain may facilitate the development of opioid abuse by increasing the magnitude and...

A number of studies have provided evidence that animals, including rats, remember past episodes. However, few experiments have addressed episodic-like memory from a social perspective. In the present study, we evaluated Wistar rats in the...

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...

Chronic vascular access devices are widely used in a variety of species for repeated blood sampling or substance administration. Jugular catheters are commonly used for studying addiction-related behaviors in rats. Rats with catheters have historically...

Pregnancy diagnosis and embryo counting are important end points in reproductive, developmental biology and toxicology studies. The purpose of the present study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for...

Rats (Rattus norvegicus) bred for research are typically confined with their litters until weaning, but will spend time away from pups when given the opportunity. We aimed to assess how dam welfare is affected by...

In this case study, a housing system for rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was developed, complying with the new German Welfare Regulation, and evaluated on-farm with regard to the rabbits' behaviour during four fattening periods. The housing...

Our prior work showed that exposing single housed rats to intermittent physical stress (IPS) in mid-adolescence (PD35-46) led to increased risk-taking/decreased anxiety behaviour in adulthood, as indexed by their greater willingness to explore the open-arms...

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

Convergent evidence in literature shows that rapid disruption of maternal care and breastfeeding due to an early weaning protocol changes the development of several neurobehavioral patterns in rodents, including the circadian pattern of feeding. The...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

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...

This poster describes the development of a sifting cage change method for rats to improve welfare. I came up with the idea after seeing how skittish and stressed the rats in my unit were and...

Early life stress compromises brain development and can contribute to the development of mental illnesses. A common animal model used to study different facets of psychiatric disorders is social isolation from early life on. In...

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...

The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...

This open access book is a printed edition of the Special Issue on Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes that was published in the journal Fishes. The PDF is free for download.

The weekend effect hypothesis proposes that captive primates are more likely to give birth during times of low disturbance and reduced staff activity. The hypothesis specifically predicts that laboratory‐housed primates will be more likely to...

We evaluated the effects of two types of colony cages, in which rabbit does were always in a group (C1), and where they were in combi cages furnished with removable internal walls to allow both...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

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