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 soft‐bodied cephalopods including octopus, cuttlefish, and squid are broadly considered to be the most cognitively advanced group of invertebrates. Previous research has demonstrated that these large‐brained molluscs possess a suite of cognitive attributes that...

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...

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...

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...

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...

This article describes the biology, husbandry, and care of Siamese fighting fish (also known as the betta fish) at Columbia University.

Spiders with around 48,000 recorded species are major terrestrial predators and thus crucially important for ecosystem functioning. They are widely used as research models and for biodiversity displays and sometimes also kept as pets. Nevertheless...

The past few decades have seen a burgeoning of scientific studies on great apes’ use of nests for sleeping in the wild, as well as their nesting behavior and sleep in captivity. We review recent...

Honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies are “superorganisms”. Individual bees do not display the complete behavioural and ecological range of the species. With its caste structure and division of labour, the colony acts as a functional...

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...

Cephalopods have become an archetype for invertebrate cognition, sentience and welfare studies. Their convergence with so-called ‘higher’ vertebrates (birds, mammals) in memory, learning, problem-solving, tool use and likely sentience has made biologists completely rethink the...

This poster will provide information on the cichlids, including their dietary and husbandry requirements and the breeding of these animals.

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.

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

Electric eels (Electrophorus electricus) are a unique species used for behavioral research in the Vanderbilt Animal Care and Use Program. Few resources are available to describe the housing and handling of this species in captivity...

Cephalopods are the sole invertebrates included in the list of regulated species following the Directive 2010/63/EU. According to the Directive, achieving competence through adequate training is a requisite for people having a role in the...

This book summarizes the basic features of living fish. It is introduced by a chapter on the diversity of a group which has over 30,000 species, the largest within the vertebrates, describing the classification systems...

The degree to which the relatively smaller area of artificial environments (compared with natural habitats) has measureable effects on the behavior and welfare of captive animals has been debated for many years. While there is...

Fish are one of the most highly utilised vertebrate taxa by humans; they are harvested from wild stocks as part of global fishing industries, grown under intensive aquaculture conditions, are the most common pet and...

Primates are notable for having a rich and detailed understanding of their social environment and there has been great interest in the evolution and function of social knowledge in primates. Indeed, primates have been shown...

The Guide for the Care and Use of Animals and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) outline minimum space requirements for laboratory animals, including rabbits. These documents encourage housing of animals in enclosures that allow...

Adding a few minutes of positive human interaction per animal per week to the management of captive gorillas resulted in improved well-being in several areas: the drop in abnormal behaviours, behaviours directed at the public...

The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...

An ethological understanding of a behavioral phenomenon incorporates four levels of explanation: development, mechanism, function, and evolution. The phenomenon of socially-mediated learning has garnered a great deal of attention from ethologists, prominently including primatologists. Gregarious...

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