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. 

Carbon dioxide and isoflurane are widely used for killing rats, yet may not truly achieve “euthanasia”, because they elicit aversion. The inhalant anesthetic desflurane is faster acting than isoflurane, representing a potential refinement. Using an...

Background: There has been increased concern about the suitability of CO2 as a method for euthanasia of laboratory mice and rats, including the potential discomfort, pain or distress that animals may experience prior to loss...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

Euthanasia in rodents is an ongoing topic of debate due to concerns regarding the aversive nature of gases with anesthetic properties such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and isoflurane. The aim of this study was to...

In many animal experiments scientists and local authorities define a body-weight reduction of 20% or more as severe suffering and thereby as a potential parameter for humane endpoint decisions. In this study, we evaluated distinct...

Comparative severity assessment of animal models and experimental interventions is of utmost relevance for harm-benefit analysis during ethical evaluation, an animal welfare-based model prioritization as well as the validation of refinement measures. Unfortunately, there is...

The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate whether behavioral or locomotor tests (Open Field (OF), rotarod (RR), and CatWalk (CW)) can help assess the severity of laparotomy in rats. The new EU Directive...

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...

Euthanasia is one of the most commonly performed procedures in biomedical research, involving tens of millions of animals in North America and Europe every year. The use of sodium pentobarbital, injected intraperitoneally, for killing rodents...

Ensuring that laboratory rodent pain is well managed underpins the ethical acceptability of working with these animals in research. Appropriate treatment of pain in laboratory rodents requires accurate assessments of the presence or absence of...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

Rabbits are the third species in terms of number of animals reared for meat production in the world. However, in comparison to other species, very few studies have focused on their welfare. The aim of...

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...

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...

The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) for stunning and killing animals is considered to compromise welfare due to air hunger, anxiety, fear, and pain. Despite decades of research, no alternatives have so far been found...

Minimization and alleviation of stress are generally viewed as desirable aspects of laboratory animal management and use. However, achieving that goal requires an unambiguous and valid measure of stress. Glucocorticoid concentrations are commonly used as...

The rat grimace scale (RGS) is a measure of spontaneous pain that evaluates pain response. The ability to characterize pain through a non-invasive method has considerable utility for numerous animal models of disease, including mucositis...

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...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill laboratory rats. Rats find CO2 aversive and aversion varies between individuals, indicating that rats vary in CO2 sensitivity. Healthy humans experience feelings of anxiety at concentrations similar...

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...

There is a growing interest in the use of voluntarily displayed ongoing behaviours in laboratory animals to assess the pain experience. In rats, two behavioural pain scales, the Rat Grimace Scale (RGS, a facial expression...

Scientific methods for assessing animal affect, especially affective valence (positivity or negativity), allow us to evaluate animal welfare and the effectiveness of 3Rs Refinements designed to improve wellbeing. Judgement bias tasks measure valence; however, task-training...

This study compared behavioral and physiologic changes in Sprague–Dawley and Brown Norway rats that were euthanized by using a 30% volume displacement rate of CO2 in either their home cage or an induction chamber; rats...

Current recommendations for assessing animal wellbeing during euthanasia suggest that measuring neuroendocrine hormones—such as ACTH, noradrenaline, and adrenaline—is preferable to measuring corticosterone and blood glucose because of the sensitivity of neuroendocrine hormones to the acute...

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