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. 

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

Our prior work showed that exposing single housed rats to intermittent physical stress (IPS) in mid-adolescence (PD35-46) led to increased risk-taking/decreased anxiety behaviour in adulthood, as indexed by their greater willingness to explore the open-arms...

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...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.

Elizabethan collars (E-collars) are commonly used in various species to safeguard healing wounds. However, E-collars inadvertently restrict the expression of normal species-typical behaviors, including coprophagy, self-grooming, and social housing. To maintain social housing in accordance...

Social housing has been shown to attenuate the motivation for cocaine in female, but not male rats. Here we investigate the potential mechanisms mediating the effect of social housing on the response to methamphetamine (METH)...

Aggressiveness is one of the main problems in group housing of rabbit does. The aim of the experiment was to investigate the frequency of aggressiveness and mating behaviour as well as the lifespan of does...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

We evaluated the effects of two types of colony cages, in which rabbit does were always in a group (C1), and where they were in combi cages furnished with removable internal walls to allow both...

This work aimed at evaluating the effects of housing system, pen floor type, and lactation management on rabbit doe and kit performance throughout a reproductive cycle, including categorization of aggressiveness and injuries. Forty multiparous pregnant...

Though European rabbits are a social species, socially housing them can be challenging. Therefore, there must be a thorough understanding of behaviors and social structures of pair-housed laboratory rabbits. Here we present a protocol to...

The aim of the present review is to discuss how housing conditions affect behavioral performance in laboratory rodents from an ethological view. Commonly used laboratory rodents such as rats and mice, are originally captured animals...

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)...

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...

Since rats lack a gall bladder, they are an ideal model for investigating continuous biliary excretion and biotransformation. The design and implementation of a modified tail cuff and cannula system introduced at Covance permits the...

Rabbits are usually singly housed in laboratories, but a new emphasis on providing social housing for social species has prompted exploration of alternative housing for this species. However, a paucity of literature on the social...

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...

The 8th Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals clarified its language regarding housing social species, specifying that, “Single housing of social species should be the exception…”. This is a...

Measuring the activity and temperature of rats is commonly required in biomedical research. Conventional approaches necessitate single housing, which affects their behavior and wellbeing. We have used a subcutaneous radiofrequency identification (RFID) transponder to measure...

The aim of this work was to study how the group size and the number of doorways in a pen may influence the aggressive interactions throughout the reproductive cycle among does kept in a part-time...

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...

An unfavourable yet necessary side-effect of stereotaxic surgery involves the social isolation of post-surgery rats, in order to protect their wound site or skull-mounted implant from damage. Social isolation can cause a myriad of behavioural...

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