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. 

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...

Horses (Equus caballus) have been domesticated for millennia and are regularly utilized for work, sport, and companionship. Enhanced understanding of human–horse interactions can create avenues to optimize their welfare. This review explores the current research...

Various pharmaceutical products have been derived from horse blood and urine for over a century. Production of biologics and therapeutics from these samples is a niche industry and often occurs in regions with little regulation...

The satisfaction of leisure horses’ behavioral needs has begun to be considered a priority, linked to the awareness that horses kept in single boxes may be deprived of social contact and the possibility to perform...

In this Opinion paper, we consider whether current methods of tickling overemphasize the use of pinning (Figure 1) to which there may be a wider response variation than commonly acknowledged. We do not dispute that...

Most would agree that animals in research should be spared “unnecessary” harm, pain, or distress, and there is also growing interest in providing animals with some form of environmental enrichment. But is this the standard...

Dogs and cats use human emotional information directed to an unfamiliar situation to guide their behavior, known as social referencing. It is not clear whether other domestic species show similar socio-cognitive abilities in interacting with...

Exposure to environmental factors such as high temperatures and solar radiation levels present a welfare concern for many domestic equids. Understanding how these factors influence the shelter use of healthy equids can inform welfare guidelines...

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...

Orcas are large, deep-diving cetaceans who are known for their global distribution, wide-ranging behavior, intelligence, and social complexity. They possess one of the largest and most complex brains in the mammalian kingdom. However, they are...

While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...

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...

Caring for all aspects of zoo elephants’ well-being is considered a major challenge. Providing an appropriate flooring substrate to facilitate lying rest presents a meaningful part of a holistic management concept. Investigating the impact of...

Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...

This review paper is a synthesis of results from multiple studies that we have conducted over the past several years using similar methodologies to identify factors related to welfare of captive populations of elephants in...

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...

Domesticated horses mainly live in individual boxes, a housing system reported as compromising animal welfare. A common practice in riding schools involves offering a temporary period on pasture with conspecifics to alleviate the impact of...

In the equestrian world, two different types of management can be distinguished: traditional management and natural boarding. The aim of this research was to compare hormonal, hematological and immunological parameters of 47 horses kept in...

In animal studies on bone healing, the effect of housing space and physical activity are seldom taken into account. Bone formation was evaluated in New Zealand White rabbits (mean ± SEM BW: 3.9 ± 0.11...

Gentle tactile stimuli have been shown to play an important role in the establishment and maintenance of affiliative social interactions. Oxytocin has also been shown to have similar actions. We investigated the effects of gentle...

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...

Modern zoos strive to improve standards of animal management, husbandry and welfare of their animals as part of a continual evaluation process. Elephants (Elephantidae) have received particular attention in recent years due to the challenge...

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...

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