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. 
Environmental enrichment is a method to increase environmental heterogeneity, which may reduce stress and improve animal welfare. Previous studies have shown that environmental enrichment can increase the growth rate, decrease aggressive and anxiety-like behaviors, improve...
Research into cat behavior has gained more attention in recent years. As one of the world’s most popular companion animals, work in this field has potential to have wide-reaching benefits. Cats living in shelters are...
Providing novel and creative enrichments for nonhuman primates improves their mental wellbeing and is thus an important aspect of all husbandry programs. These enrichments are often presented through variations in diet, toys, and environmental features...
This traditional snack has a variety of options for NHP enrichment. From fruit to cereals, get creative with the “ants” and remember to consider different fillings for the celery log.
Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and...
Computer-enabled screen systems containing visual elements have long been employed with captive primates for assessing preference, reactions and for husbandry reasons. These screen systems typically play visual enrichment to primates without them choosing to trigger...
Steroid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (SONFH) is a condition documented in humans and animals exposed to chronic steroid administration. The rabbit has become a preferred animal model for investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of...
This great cool-down snack is ideal for group or singly housed swine or nonhuman primates (particularly in larger pen-style housing). This item can be customized for canines as well by modifying the liquid used and/or...
Captive breeding is vital for primate conservation, with modern zoos serving a crucial role in breeding populations of threatened species and educating the general public. However, captive populations can experience welfare issues that may also...
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...
The study of human–animal interactions has provided insights into the welfare of many species. To date, however, research has largely focused on human relationships with captive mammals, with relatively little exploration of interactions between humans...
Intraspecific aggression is detrimental to body/fin damage, physiological stress, and other problems in aquaculture. Environmental enrichment has been proposed to have positive effects on fish aggressive behavior, physiological stress, and fish welfare, but there are...
Enrichment is widely used as a tool for studying how changes in environment affect animal behavior. Here, we report an experimental study investigating if behaviors shaped by stimuli from environmental enrichment depending on the stage...
This DIY snack is great for NHP and can be customized in a variety of ways.
This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!
Behavior is one of the most observable and informative indicators of animal welfare. This study used behavioral observation methodologies to evaluate the impact of an enclosure expansion on the activity budgets of a group of...
The assessment and understanding of Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Elimination (ADME) for new pharmaceuticals is required in regulatory submissions. Typically, ADME studies are conducted using metabolism cages designed for the single housing of animals to...
There are several items we often use in animal facilities that when finished with are thrown away. However, many of these items come in packaging that can be recycled as enrichment for our animals, particularly...
This study into the behaviour of domestic cats (Feliscatus) aimed to assess the relationship between behavioural expressions obtained via the Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) and quantitative outcomes of temperament tests. Four behavioural tests were used...
Playing music or natural sounds to animals in human care is thought to have beneficial effects. An analysis of published papers on the use of human-based music with animals demonstrates a variety of different results...
Dogs and cats housed in research-, kennel- and cattery-type settings are reliant on caregivers to optimise their day-to-day experiences and welfare. The goal is to provide enriching environments for physical, social and environmental control; behavioural...
This research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...
Objectives: The assessment of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is becoming increasingly important in companion animals. This study describes a systematic review and development of a proposed conceptual framework to assess HRQoL in cats with...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...

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