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. 
Heart rate (HR) is a vital bio-signal that is relatively easy to monitor with contact sensors and is related to a living organism’s state of health, stress and well-being. The objective of this study was...
Anxiety is a physio-psychological state anticipating an imminent threat. In social mammals it is behaviorally expressed via displacement activities and buffered via affiliation. Anxiety research on domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) has mostly focused on abnormal/stereotypic...
Confinement to farrowing crates is known to prevent sows from performing natural behavior, impairing animal welfare and possibly causing chronic stress. Hair cortisol analyses are increasingly used to detect chronic stress in animals. In the...
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 National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is working with industry to promote social housing during cardiovascular telemetry recordings within non-rodent safety pharmacology and toxicology studies. Following surveys...
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...
Monitoring the temperature of piglets after birth is critical to ensure their well-being. Rectal temperature measurement is time-consuming, requires fixation of the animal and is stressful for piglets. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness...
Thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, energy homeostasis and reproduction. Hormones can be measured in various biological source materials: blood, feces, urine, saliva and others. The aim of our study was to verify usefulness of...
Changes in skin mucus production and composition offer a new means to study how fish cope with changes in the environment. We explored the utility of skin mucus as an indicator of physiological responses and...
Appropriate end-points are integral to the refinement of laboratory animal experiments. Our recent experience has highlighted that ambiguity around end-points is hampering their adoption in experiments that cause severe suffering to fish. In toxicology, the...
Firmly squeezing the chests of newborn foals and calves that are showing abnormal behaviours after birth causes them to enter a less-responsive state, characterised by lying down with eyes closed and no limb movements. Once...
Some common practices in aquaculture, ornamental trade and fish facilities may disturb the behavioural repertoire of fish and its natural adaptive value, reducing welfare and impairing fish production. Hence, it is necessary to understand fish...
Respirometry has become the standard method for measuring the metabolic rate of fishes. Traditionally, respirometry has required the fish to be kept in captivity and tested under controlled conditions; however, many species do not readily...
While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...
Respiratory diseases are a major problem in the pig industry worldwide. Due to the impact of these diseases, the early identification of infected herds is essential. Computer vision technology, using RGB (red, green and blue)...
Measuring vital signs is central to medical practice, but they are difficult to monitor in awake laboratory animals. We examined the feasibility of a noninvasive device [Cortrium C3 device] for telemetric assessment of respiration rate...
This article describes the biology, husbandry, and care of Siamese fighting fish (also known as the betta fish) at Columbia University.
Intensive pig management involves in a commercial setting the housing and implementation of certain procedures, such as castration and tail docking, which may be stressful for the animal. Good farming practices include the reduction 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...
Dominance hierarchies can reduce conflict within social groups and agonistic signals can help to establish and maintain these hierarchies. Behaviours produced by subordinates in response to aggression are often assumed to function as signals of...
European sea bass is a marine teleost which can inhabit a broad range of environmental salinities. So far, no research has studied the physiological response of this fish to salinity challenges using modifications in skin...
Stingrays play a key role in the regulation of nearshore ecosystems. However, their movement ecology in high-energy surf areas remains largely unknown due to the notorious difficulties in conducting research in these environments. Using a...
Nose contact is a frequent form of social behaviour in pigs, but the motivational reasons underlying this behaviour remain unclear. We investigated the frequency, direction and type of sow–piglet nosing behaviour and its association with...
Cortisol levels in fish skin mucus have shown to be good stress indicators in farm fish exposed to different stressors. Its applicability in free-ranging animals subject to long-term environmental stressors though remains to be explored...
Intensively housed domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) have little opportunity to perform diverse foraging behaviour though they still seem strongly motivated to do so. Here, we investigated whether the execution of specific behaviours may in itself...

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