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. 
Accelerometers offer unique opportunities to study the behaviour of cryptic animals but require validation to show their accuracy in identifying behaviours. This validation is often undertaken in captivity before use in the wild. While zoos...
Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...
Although alpacas are becoming increasingly popular animals, their behaviour towards humans has received little research interest until now. The purpose of our study was to investigate, for the first time, associations between caretaker attitudes and...
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...
Appropriate end-points are integral to the refinement of laboratory animal experiments. Our recent experience has highlighted that ambiguity around end-points is hampering their adoption in experiments that cause severe suffering to fish. In toxicology, the...
Many articles have shown the benefits of operant conditioning training techniques in the care and welfare of several species of nonhuman primates; however, the information regarding their use in strepsirrhine species is scarce. We assessed...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is a component of a comprehensive species-appropriate enrichment program to train specific species behaviors and reduce the stress on animals. Our facility has historically used PRT with nonhuman primates, so we...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is associated with increases in species-typical behavior and decreases in stereotypic and abnormal behavior in participating animals. Physiological changes following PRT, for example, increases in oxytocin (OXT) and/or decreases in cortisol...
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...
Zoos use ambassador animals in educational programs featuring close contact with humans. Chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) at the Saint Louis Zoo are retrieved for programs by a keeper wearing brown handling gloves, but green cleaning gloves...
Training nonhuman primates (NHPs) to perform cognitive tasks is essential for many neuroscientific investigations, yet laboratory training is a time-consuming process with inherent limitations. Habituating NHPs to the laboratory staff and experimental equipment can take...
Preference testing has many benefits, informing both applied management decisions and theoretical questions. We developed a preference‐testing method in which subjects are shown pairs of photographs of food items on a touchscreen in a forced‐choice...
Animal habituation is key to obtain reliable data on behavioural studies but detailed procedures to achieve it are scarce. This study designed a set of actions to habituate sheep and goats to human observers. Pelibuey...
Guinea pigs are a commonly used model for tuberculosis vaccine research. Loss of body weight is the most frequently described humane endpoint for animals used in these studies. During a chronic study, we noted labored...
Myxoma virus is a member of Leporipoxviridae whose tropism is tightly restricted to lagomorphs. In susceptible Oryctolagus rabbits, the virus causes a highly lethal disease known as myxomatosis, which begins as a localized infection but...
Behavior and behavior-associated issues are an important part of psittacine medicine. However, many veterinarians have an approach to parrots from the basics of handling and restraint to their assessment of behavioral issues (e.g., feather plucking)...
Biotelemetry can contribute towards reducing animal numbers and suffering in disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and behavioural research. However, the technique can also cause harm to animals, making biotelemetry a ‘refinement that needs refining’. Current welfare...
This is the third volume of discussions that took place on the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF). This forum is dedicated to the exchange of personal experiences of refining the conditions under which...
A cooperative environment is paramount when working with nonhuman primates (NHP). Desensitization to specific stimulus helps to allow technicians to more safely perform procedures without the use of anesthetics, and with minimal restraint, greatly reducing...
In the last decade several surveys of primate care and training programs highlight a common theme; despite scientific evidence that animal training can be effective in reducing stress, increasing efficiency and improving veterinary care, animal...
This review will examine how individual differences in temperament might affect, or be affected by, behavioral management practices for captive primates. Measuring temperament may help us predict the outcome of social introductions. It can also...
Guinea pigs are difficult to oral gavage dose. Previous adverse effects from this dosing method, using rigid catheters, had caused an earlier endpoint to studies and loss of data. We therefore developed a prototype gag...
Traditional techniques used to capture New World monkeys, such as net capture, can induce high levels of acute stress detrimental to welfare. Alternatively, training nonhuman animals via operant conditioning to voluntarily participate in husbandry and/or...
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group holds a one-day meeting every autumn so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on rodent welfare issues and share experiences of the implementation of the 3Rs...
At the Oregon National Primate Research Center, we train animals to enter transfer boxes using positive reinforcement training (PRT), a type of training in which the trainer reinforces desired behaviors (such asentering the transfer box)...

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