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 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...

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...

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 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...

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).

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...

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...

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...

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...

Social play is associated with the experience of positive emotions in higher vertebrates and may be used as a measure of animal welfare. Altering motivation to play (e.g., through short-term social isolation) can temporarily affect...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

Standard laboratory cages prevent rats (Rattus norvegicus) from performing many behaviours that they perform in the wild, but little is known about how this may affect their welfare. The aims of this study were (i)...

Covering species-typical behavior as well as abnormal/malfunctional behavior and stereotypes observed in mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils, this is an excellent resource for those looking to implement or enhance an existing behavioral husbandry and enrichment...

During playful interactions, juvenile rats emit many 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations, which are associated with a positive affective state. In addition, these calls may also serve a communicative role – as play signals that promote playful...

When playing, rats emit 50-kHz calls which may function as play signals. A previous study using devocalized rats provides support for the hypothesis that 50-kHz function to promote and maintain playful interactions (Kisko et al...

In mammals, helping is preferentially provided to members of one’s own group. Yet, it remains unclear how social experience shapes pro-social motivation. We found that rats helped trapped strangers by releasing them from a restrainer...

During playful interactions, rats emit increased levels of 50-kHz vocalizations. It is possible that these vocalizations are used as play signals that promote and maintain playful contact. The study investigated this possibility. It was predicted...

This is the third volume of discussions that took place on the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF). This forum is dedicated to the exchange of personal experiences of refining the conditions under which...

Reptiles and amphibians have been neglected in research on cognition, emotions, sociality, need for enriched and stimulating environments, and other topics that have been greatly emphasized in work on mammals and birds. This is also...

While clinical reptile medicine as a science is in its ascendancy among veterinary surgeons and other interested groups, familiarity with the often related issue of reptilian behavioural and psychological health appears less common. Behavioural change...

Despite growing interest in promoting positive welfare, rather than just alleviating poor welfare, potential measures of good welfare, and means to provide it, have remained elusive. In humans social support improves stress-coping abilities, health, and...

Changing soiled cages is an integral part of husbandry, yet it can be a source of stress for both animal and animal care technician. In one case, large geriatric rats weighing around 1 kg did...

Following a two-week introduction period, pairs of rats were put inside an arena. One was trapped inside a central restrainer, while the other roamed free in the larger space. By day six or seven, on...

The Guide for the Care and Use of Animals and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) outline minimum space requirements for laboratory animals, including rabbits. These documents encourage housing of animals in enclosures that allow...

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