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. 
Here, we evaluated if visual barriers could reduce intraspecific agonism in an all-male group of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) living in a zoo. Crocodiles were monitored for nearly 100 h, and four “hotspots” of aggression...
Snake ownership is popular; however, housing and care may not always satisfy the animal's welfare needs. For example, snakes are often kept in environmental conditions that restrict their ability to stretch out fully or move...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
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 article describes the care of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus) including information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. Some of the information presented is derived from...
Thanks to its small size, external fertilization and fecundity, over the past four decades, zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become the dominant fish model species in biological and biomedical research. Multiple lines of evidence, however, suggest...
Snakes are sentient animals and should be subject to the accepted general welfare principles of other species. However, they are also the only vertebrates commonly housed in conditions that prevent them from adopting rectilinear behavior...
Due to a rising demand for goat milk and goat milk products worldwide, it is likely that dairy goat production will be intensified in the future, with larger herds per farm. In Switzerland, as in...
Although most chameleon species can be challenging captives, C. calyptratus have been successfully kept and bred in captivity for over thirty years. Despite their relative familiarity, our challenge is to replicate their preferred habitats in...
Considering animal welfare, animals should be kept in animal-appropriate and stress-free housing conditions in all circumstances. To assure such conditions, not only basic needs must be met, but also possibilities must be provided that allow...
In this case study, a housing system for rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was developed, complying with the new German Welfare Regulation, and evaluated on-farm with regard to the rabbits' behaviour during four fattening periods. The housing...
Background: Farm animals (FAs) are frequently used in biomedical research. Recommendations for the purchase, housing and health monitoring of these animals (sheep, goats, cattle and pigs) are still missing, and many institutes have developed their...
Ensuring good health and welfare is an increasingly important consideration for conservation of endangered species, whether free-ranging or managed to varying degrees under human care. The welfare-based design of a new habitat for Asian elephants...
This study investigated the behaviour of two Elasmobranch species; Southern fiddler ray (Trygonorrhina dumerilii, n = 1) and Port Jackson shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni, n = 4) and two teleost species; moonlighter (Tilodon sexfasciatus, n =...
During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...
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...
Welfare in aquaculture is a pressing topic. One of the main measures to improve the life of farmed fish is implementing environmental enrichment, which can include the addition of structural covers to rearing tanks. Here...
There is much evidence in mammals and birds demonstrating the importance of providing sufficient space to allow captive animals to exhibit natural behaviours, however, little such evidence exists for reptiles. The aim of this study...
Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...
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...
Caring for all aspects of zoo elephants’ well-being is considered a major challenge. Providing an appropriate flooring substrate to facilitate lying rest presents a meaningful part of a holistic management concept. Investigating the impact of...
Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...
This review paper is a synthesis of results from multiple studies that we have conducted over the past several years using similar methodologies to identify factors related to welfare of captive populations of elephants in...
Wild chimpanzees frequently make arboreal nests, while wild lowland gorillas typically nest on the ground. We aimed to understand whether zoo-housed apes’ use of elevated spaces for retiring similarly differed between species and across exhibits...
This article provides recommendations for the care of laboratory zebrafish (Danio rerio) as part of the further implementation of Annex A to the European Convention on the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and...

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