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. 
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
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...
Play in domestic cats has been largely studied using a contextual approach, i.e., with a focus on what the cat is playing with, such as an object, itself or another cat. Such classification may be...
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...
The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a rodent that has gained importance as a biomedical research model for various conditions including hypoxic brain injury, cancer and nociception. It is captured from the wild and...
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...
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.
The behavioral patterns of Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) housed individually and in same-sex groups (siblings) were characterized. Gerbils were continuously video-recorded 24 hours (day 1) and 120 hours (day 5) after housing conditions were established...
The 2011 European Union Zoo Inquiry presented evidence that most zoos fail to achieve adequate levels of nonhuman animal welfare. Appropriate environmental enrichment (EE) can play a role in the promotion of welfare. However, financial...
Many reptiles require ultraviolet-B radiation between 290 and 315 nm (UV-B) to synthesize vitamin D3 and process dietary calcium. In captivity, exposure to too little or too much UV-B can result in health problems such...
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...
Few studies have sought to describe cat elimination behavior in detail and much of the information presently available focuses on factors that potentially cause cats to reject a litter box. Thus, the ethograms published in...
The lack of appropriate stimuli associated with captive environments has been documented to cause several behavioural and physiological issues in captive species, including loss of natural behaviours, psychopathologies and decreased reproductive success. Providing free-ranging, naturalistic...
Marmota monax is a valuable laboratory animal species used in studies of Hepatitis B virus (HBV), food intake, obesity, hibernation, and circannual cycles. This article describes the woodchuck’s (also known as groundhog) natural behavior and...
African spiny mice (Acomysspp.) are unique precocial rodents that are found in Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia. They exhibit several interesting life-history characteristics, including precocial development, communal breeding, and a suite of physiologic...
The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) originates from the solitary living African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). However, through domestication, the domestic cat has become more social towards conspecifics and group housing of cats is common...
Covering species-typical behavior as well as abnormal/malfunctional behavior and stereotypes observed in mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils, this is an excellent resource for those looking to implement or enhance an existing behavioral husbandry and enrichment...
The separate influences of spatial density and housing quality on the behavior of captive animals are difficult to measure because the two factors are often intrinsically linked. Here, we recorded affiliative and agonistic behavior in...
Reduced space can lead to crowding in social animals. Crowding increases the risk of agonistic interactions that, in turn, may require additional physiological defensive coping mechanisms affecting health. To determine the stress induced from increased...
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...
Reptiles and amphibians have been neglected in research on cognition, emotions, sociality, need for enriched and stimulating environments, and other topics that have been greatly emphasized in work on mammals and birds. This is also...
While clinical reptile medicine as a science is in its ascendancy among veterinary surgeons and other interested groups, familiarity with the often related issue of reptilian behavioural and psychological health appears less common. Behavioural change...
The authors provide an update to their 2006 report on the successful large-scale captive breeding of the 13-lined ground squirrel (TLGS; Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) in their colony, now a single-source supplier of purpose-bred TLGSs for several...
In the wild, many primates consume gums exuded from trees, and many species are gum specialists. In spite of this, few data exist concerning gum feeding in captivity. Using a web-based survey of 46 zoos...
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...

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