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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...

Emotional recognition has been demonstrated to occur between members of different species. However, the majority of studies on interspecific communication of emotions so far focused on the senses of vision and hearing while the contribution...

Despite evidence for rat tickling’s animal welfare benefits, the technique is rarely implemented in part because of a lack of training. This study’s purpose was to determine the efficacy of online-only or online + hands-on...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

A human–animal relationship can be developed through subsequent interactions, affected by the positive or negative emotional valence of the proceeding one. Horses implement a process of categorization to classify humans with whom they interact 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...

Emotions are important for social animals because animals' emotions function as beneficial cues to identify valuable resources such as food or to avoid danger by providing environmental information. Emotions also enable animals to predict individuals'...

Human body odors contain chemosignals that make species-specific communication possible. Interspecies communication studies were conducted on dogs and horses subjected to human chemosignals produced in happiness and fear emotional states. Dogs showed behaviors consistent with...

Care given to animals, such as grooming for horses, can be a source of well-being when carried out correctly. However, it can cause discomfort when badly perceived and lead to potentially dangerous reactions. This study...

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...

Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought of performing a known action, alone, will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...

Timing of reward is very important when training horses. Incorrect timing can lead to confusion and deleterious behaviors and learning will be impaired. Clicker training can be used as an important tool in training. However...

The root cause of most welfare issues for horses is human behavior – people doing, or not doing, certain care, management or training practices. In addition, there is a gap between advancing scientific knowledge about...

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