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. 
Sea turtles perform various ecological services in several marine environments and are considered architects of the marine landscape. At present, they are endangered species due to anthropogenic threats, pollution and degradation of marine habitats. These...
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...
In sea turtle rescue and rehabilitative medicine, many of the casualties suffer from occurrences that would be considered painful in other species; therefore, the use of analgesic drugs should be ethically mandatory to manage the...
For animals undergoing rehabilitation it is vital to monitor welfare in a way that is feasible, practical, and limits stress to the animal. The industry gold standard is to assess welfare under the Five Domains...
Prevention of pain in rabbits is a priority for both welfare and validity of scientific data. We aimed to determine if the rabbit grimace scale (RbtGS) could be used as a viable, rapid assessment tool...
Mongolian gerbils can develop stereotypic behaviors, including corner digging. At our institution, gerbils also engage in repetitive corner jumping, which we sought to characterize as a potentially novel stereotypy in gerbils. We then attempted to...
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.
Apart from species-typical foraging behavior, a large body of the literature addresses enriching captive marmoset environments through structural and housing adaptations to promote activity and exploration. These studies simulate vertical elements and climbing substrates in...
This study aimed to determine whether tank enrichment improved positive species-specific behaviors (those that benefit the animals' overall well-being), such as basking, and/or decreased negative behaviors (those that may indicate stress, agitation, or discomfort), such...
Shelters are frequently used for fish rearing to improve welfare conditions. In this study, whether Nile tilapia prefers specific shelter colors was evaluated. Thus, fish preference for white, red, blue, green or yellow shelters was...
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...
Animals are often kept in conditions with low environmental complexity and for long periods in barren artificial environments. This has been shown to lead to poor welfare in many species of animals. We assessed the...
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...
We tested whether territorial fish (Nile tilapia) perceive body tactile stimulation as a positive or negative resource. Individual male fish were placed for eight days in an aquarium containing a rectangular PVC frame, which was...
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!
Recent research has uncovered many complex cognitive traits and affective processes in many reptile species, such as the ability to make choices that are rewarding or pleasurable. The investigation herein was initiated after many years...
The effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior and welfare in captivity of reptiles and of freshwater turtles in particular, which are popular aquarium and pet species, is very little studied compared to other taxa...
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...
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...
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...

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