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. 
Socially flexible species might be at an advantage when facing environmental unpredictability, human-induced rapid environmental changes, or unnatural conditions such as encountered in captivity. The European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) was originally described as solitarily...
Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is a rare mammal appearing in South and Southeast Asia, first described in 1777. Because of the detrimental effects of stress, studying stress responses is important for this wildlife conservation...
The union or reunion of animals with social groups can be a challenging situation, and little has been published about it when solitary species are concerned. Therefore, the aim of the present study was two-fold...
One of the highest occurrences of mortalities among giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) takes place during immobilisations, captures and translocations. Common mistakes, human error, unforeseen risks, the awkward anatomy and the sheer size of the animal are...
A fundamental understanding of behavior is essential to improving the welfare of billions of farm animals around the world. Despite living in an environment managed by humans, farm animals are still capable of making important...
Little is known about the social behavior of pygmy slow lorises, in particular, the social relationships of same‐sex individuals have rarely been investigated. The Slow Loris Conservation Center was built at the Japan Monkey Center...
While recent work has assessed how environmental and managerial changes influence elephant welfare across multiple zoos, few studies have addressed the effects of management changes within a single institution. In this paper, we examine how...
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...
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...
Pygmy slow lorises (Nycticebus pygmaeus) are threatened with extinction in the wild. Their nocturnal lifestyle and small size make them difficult to study in their natural habitat, but increasing evidence suggests that they are more...
The introduction of elephants into new groups is necessary for breeding programmes. However, behavioural studies on the reactions of these animals at first encounters are missing. In the present study, female African elephants (Loxodonta africana)...
Wildlife research has been indispensable for increasing our insight into ecosystem functioning as well as for designing effective conservation measures under the currently high rates of biodiversity loss. Genetic and genomic analyses might be able...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...
After the loss of one of our breeding males and the export of loris offspring, in 2021 our off-show female loris was solitary. During this time, we noticed a number of changes in this female...
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...
Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting...
The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...
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...
If a laboratory animal survives an experiment without lasting compromised welfare, its future must be negotiated. Rehoming may be a consideration. This paper reports on research findings that provide an indication of the uptake of...
The present study assessed the diurnal variation in salivary cortisol in captive African elephants during routine management (baseline) and in relation to a potential stressor (translocation) to evaluate to what extent acute stress may affect...
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...
This article describes the authors’ experience with the housing, social housing, husbandry, handling, and environmental enrichment of chinchillas in laboratories.
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...

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