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. 

This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

The point of the session was to have a collaborative discussion about environmental enrichment. The organisers wanted to know people’s experiences with enrichment, the barriers they have faced, if they have overcome any, and also...

The presentation I gave at IAT Congress 2019 was based on the changes and refinements the University of Dundee, Medical School Resource Unit (MSRU) has made over the past 18 months. These changes, described in...

Fish welfare is still a relatively new field. As such, regulations and protocols to ensure fish welfare are currently limited and vary considerably in different jurisdictions. This is in part because of the ongoing controversy...

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.

For studies requiring accurate conception-timing, reliable, efficient methods of detecting oestrus reduce time and costs, whilst improving welfare. Standard methods use vaginal cytology to stage cycle, and breeders are paired-up using approximately five proven females...

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...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...

The social environment is a major determinant of individual stress response and lifetime health. The present study shows that (1) social enrichment has a significant impact on neuroplasticity and behaviour particularly in females; and (2)...

Farmed fish are typically reared at densities much higher than those observed in the wild, but to what extent crowding results in abnormal behaviours that can impact welfare and stress coping styles is subject to...

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...

Minimum space allowances for laboratory rats are legislated based on weight and stocking rates, with the understanding that increased housing density encourages crowding stress. However, there is little evidence for these recommendations, especially when considering...

There is considerable interest in refining laboratory rodent environments to promote animal well-being, as well as research reproducibility. Few studies have evaluated the long term impact of enhancing rodent environments with resources and additional cagemates...

This book summarizes the basic features of living fish. It is introduced by a chapter on the diversity of a group which has over 30,000 species, the largest within the vertebrates, describing the classification systems...

Here we describe a case of pseudopregnancy in a New Zealand White rabbit as a result of pair housing with an aggressive conspecific. Clinical signs included fur pulling and nest building that developed shortly after...

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