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. 

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...

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...

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...

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...

The aim of this review is to summarize evidence regarding rat emotional experiences during carbon dioxide (CO2) exposure. The studies reviewed show that CO2 exposure is aversive to rats, and that rats respond to CO2...

The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of a temperature increase on the behaviour of adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) maintained for 21 days at 34 °C (treatment) and 26 °C (control). The temperatures chosen...

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...

Emotional contagion, the ability to feel what other individuals feel without necessarily understanding the feeling or knowing its source, is thought to be an important element of social life. In humans, emotional contagion has been...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

There is no clear relationship between crying and depression based on human neuropsychiatric observations. This situation originates from lack of suitable animal models of human crying. In the present article, an attempt will be made...

Environmental enrichment provides physiological and emotional benefits to laboratory rodents. Red tinted shelters are a common enrichment found in laboratories that provide rodents with a hiding space shielded from bright light. Red tinting alters the...

Fishes in captivity, such as those used in laboratory research, may experience handling on a regular basis. In the laboratory, handling is usually done with dip-nets, and involves pursuit, confinement and capture and removal of...

Emotional contagion has recently been described in fish but whether it is affected by familiarity is not known. We tested whether the sight of a distressed conspecific elicited fear in zebrafish, Danio rerio, and whether...

Our rat training program teaches the standard method of handling and restraining that involves picking the rat up by the base of the tail and placing it on the wire mesh to be restrained. We...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...

In the past, there was a strong focus on avoiding or reducing negative animal welfare in animal experimentation. Recently, the importance of promoting positive animal welfare in laboratory animals has been highlighted. To ensure and...

Aquatic vertebrates and cephalopods, amphibians, reptiles, and birds offer unique safety and occupational health challenges for laboratory animal personnel. This paper discusses environmental, handling, and zoonotic concerns associated with these species.

Zebrafish, a highly-social species of freshwater fish, are widely studied across many fields of laboratory science including developmental biology, neuroscience, and genomics. Nevertheless, as standard housing for zebrafish typically consists of small and simplistic environments...

The environment that laboratory animals are housed in should reflect their natural habitats in a manner that can satisfy their innate physiological and behavioural needs. This includes nest building, hiding, exploring and foraging. Providing environmental...

Metabolic cages are a type of housing used in biomedical research. Metabolic cage housing has been demonstrated to elicit behavioural and physiological changes in rodents housed within them. The nature of this effect has been...

Laboratory rats are usually kept in relatively small cages, but research has shown that they prefer larger and more complex environments. The physiological, neurological and health effects of standard laboratory housing are well established, but...

Gentling can reduce the fear reactions of young laboratory rats toward people long term. We were able to show this outcome in a previous study that involved a successful but elaborate gentling program. In the...

The inhibitory avoidance paradigm allows the study of mechanisms underlying learning and memory formation in zebrafish (Danio rerio Hamilton). For zebrafish, the physiology and behavior associated with this paradigm are as yet poorly understood. We...

Rats express affective states by visible behaviors (like approach or flight) and through different kinds of ultrasonic vocalizations (USV). 50-kHz calls are thought to reflect positive affective states since they occur during rewarding situations like...

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