Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every four months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

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, Setting, 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, and only publications dated 2020 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Setting. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

It is widely acknowledged that environmental enrichment can improve animals’ welfare and emotional state. This study used cognitive bias and response to a novel object to assess the effect of enriched housing on emotional state...

Animal-borne tracking devices have generated a wealth of new knowledge, allowing us to better understand, manage and conserve species. Fitting such tracking devices requires that animals are captured and often chemically immobilized. Such procedures cause...

Recent years have witnessed major advances in the ability of computerized systems to track the positions of animals as they move through large and unconstrained environments. These systems have so far been a great boon...

Stocking density and trough space allowance can potentially impact sheep welfare during live export voyages. The aim of this study was to assess the welfare implications for sheep housed at five allometric stocking densities, with...

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 a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...

Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...

Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...

Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...

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...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

This systematic review explores the use of on-animal sensors in sheep and their potential application in objective welfare monitoring. The key questions posed were: To what extent can current scientific knowledge inform a sensor-based approach...

This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

In recent years, there has been a great increase in the interest of "emotion" and how it can be studied and translated from animals. Emotions arise when the brain receives an external stimulus, while the...

In nature, animals need to actively engage with the environment in order to prosper in survival and reproduction. Hence, agency is a central adaptive characteristic of animal life. In this paper, I propose that from...

The aim of this study was to assess hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that were subjected to relocation and surgery to evaluate HPA-axis activity; in addition, we used this marker...

To investigate how long relocation modified hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits, 19 rabbits were subjected to a change in their breeding facility at the beginning of the trial and then were kept...

This work investigated the differences in the reactivity of Sarda (primiparous n = 18, multiparous n = 17) and Dorset (multiparous n = 8) breeds of sheep and their singleton lambs to two challenging test...

Anticipatory behaviours may serve a useful tool in studying positive emotional states in animals. This study aimed to investigate if lambs express anticipatory behaviours for opportunities to play or a food reward and if these...

There is evidence that the presence of a conspecific can alter the experience of pain in humans and other animals. This ‘social buffering’ may be mediated by factors such as relatedness and familiarity. This study...

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...

Fear in farm animals has been extensively studied because of its close relation to animal welfare. Numerous studies have categorized the behavioral responses of animals to stimuli that can elicit a fear reaction under social...