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. 
The origins of floor-laying in ducks could be low motivation for a nest, or stress related to difficulties with accessing a nest (e.g. competition). Using a behavioural demand test, we investigated if increasing the work...
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...
Every animal species has particular environmental requirements that are essential for its welfare, and when these so-called “basic needs” are not fulfilled, the animals suffer. The basic needs of horses have been claimed to be...
Despite their diffusion worldwide, many aspects of donkeys’ behaviour and cognitive abilities are still poorly understood and overshadowed by a corpus of commonplaces. The possibility of better knowing this species is of key relevance for...
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...
For over a century, the practice of deflighting has taken place in zoological collections in order to ensure birds remain in open-topped enclosures. Over time, efforts have been made to improve or develop new (surgical)...
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...
Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...
This article describes the biology, husbandry, and care of Siamese fighting fish (also known as the betta fish) at Columbia University.
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...
Fish models are essential for research in many biological and medical disciplines. With a typical lifespan of only 6 months, the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) was recently established as a time- and cost-efficient model to...
The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a rodent that has gained importance as a biomedical research model for various conditions including hypoxic brain injury, cancer and nociception. It is captured from the wild 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...
This work provides an overview of the role of chemical communication in horse behavior and addresses the potential usefulness of this knowledge for management practices and animal welfare. First, we present an outline of the...
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...
The aim of this study was to develop and test a tilapia on-farm welfare assessment protocol, based on Brazilian semi-intensive production systems. The study included two mains steps: the elaboration of tilapia welfare protocol and...
Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...
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...
The impact of behavioural disorders on animal welfare in modern animal husbandry has been much debated. While other abnormal behaviours have been explored at length, there are a paucity of studies on tail-biting in rabbits...
In mammals, play behaviour appears innate and, because of this, may provide insight into the frequency and intensity of load that is required to stimulate positive musculoskeletal development. The objective of this review was to...
In adult songbirds, the primary functions of song are mate attraction and territory defense; yet, many songbirds sing at high rates as juveniles and outside these primary contexts as adults. Singing outside primary contexts is...
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.
The effects of social hierarchies (dominant/subordinate individuals), such as aggressiveness, feeding order, and territoriality, are some of the characteristics used for describing fish behaviour. Social hierarchy patterns are still poorly understood in European-reared sea bass...

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