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. 
Species-specific welfare indicators are important in promoting positive welfare for zoo animals. Reptiles are a notoriously understudied group in regards to behavior, welfare needs, and husbandry requirements. Using opportunistically obtained samples, we evaluated how blood...
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...
Members of the North American 3Rs Collaborative (NA3RsC) refinement initiative have chosen to summarize developments in five hot topics of interest: 1. Tips for welfare-friendly transport, chairing, and restraint; 2. Guidance on refining food and...
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...
Although triplet litters are increasing in captive colonies of common marmosets, parents can rarely rear more than two infants without human intervention. There is however much evidence that early life experience, including separation from the...
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...
Contraception is an important population control method for the colony management of primates housed in captivity. Etonogestrel (ENG) implants (i.e., Implanon®) are a widely used progestin-based contraceptive in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) with the theoretical...
Melengestrol acetate (MGA) implants are progestin-based reversible contraceptives used to manage fertility in zoo populations. Although it is recommended that MGA implants should be replaced every 2 years, the duration of efficacy has not been...
To curb agonistic interactions in a bachelor group of three male capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), a single dose of leuprolide acetate (Lupron®) was used in an attempt to chemically sterilize the males. Concurrently, fecal androgen metabolite...
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)...
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...
Use of scruffing and scruffing tools (eg, clipnosis clips) to immobilise cats is contentious, and cat handling guidelines vary in recommendations regarding these techniques. The current study examined whether cats show negative responses to the...
Group-living animals vary in social behavior across multiple dimensions, including in the selectivity of social interactions with familiar versus unfamiliar peers. Standardized behavioral tests can be used to tease apart different dimensions of behavior. These...
Conservation behavior involves the application of general principles of animal behavior for solving conservation problems. In primates, adoption of infants has been reported in several species and consists of an individual other than the biological...
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...
Research in ecology and wildlife biology remains crucial for increasing our knowledge and improving species management and conservation in the midst of the current biodiversity crisis. However, obtaining information on population status often involves invasive...
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...
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...
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...

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