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 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...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

Fish are widely used in scientific research, and many species are bred for ornamental purposes and human consumption. Despite the large number of fish kept in captivity, research on the welfare of these animals has...

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

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...

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...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

This is a literature review of the effects of humans' relationships with farm animals on animal productivity and welfare, including the following topics: definition of the concept and description of different tests that have been...

Available literature indicates that fish are able to recognize familiar conspecifics and that familiarity may offer important benefits (e.g. more stable social environment, improved foraging behavior, growth, survival). In the practice of intensive rearing of...

This open access book is a printed edition of the Special Issue on Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes that was published in the journal Fishes. The PDF is free for download.

We evaluated the effects of two types of colony cages, in which rabbit does were always in a group (C1), and where they were in combi cages furnished with removable internal walls to allow both...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

Aggressiveness is one of the main problems in group housing of rabbit does. The aim of the experiment was to investigate the frequency of aggressiveness and mating behaviour as well as the lifespan of does...

The poultry team at The Pirbright Institute reviewed existing husbandry practices and trialled several refinement practices. The objective was to provide the birds used in research with an environment which enables them to express their...

Elizabethan collars (E-collars) are commonly used in various species to safeguard healing wounds. However, E-collars inadvertently restrict the expression of normal species-typical behaviors, including coprophagy, self-grooming, and social housing. To maintain social housing in accordance...

This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.

Regular visual presence of humans is known to reduce chickens' human-generated stress responses. Here we questioned whether, more than mere visual presence, human behaviour affects laying hen behaviour and subsequently their offspring's behaviour. We hypothesized...

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...

Aggression in chickens is a serious economic and animal welfare issue in poultry farming. Pigmentation traits have been documented to be associated with animal behaviour. Chicken pecking behaviour has been found to be related to...

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