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. 
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...
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...
Vocalizations are used by group-living animals as aggressive and submissive signals during agonistic interactions, and are also used to maintain dominance hierarchies in many species. For gregarious strepsirrhines with large vocal repertoires and differentiated dominance...
Long-term, multi-institutional assessments have become a reliable tool for evaluating patterns of wounding in zoo-living primates, with results informing on best practices for species-specific care protocols and population management strategies. For western lowland gorillas (Gorilla...
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...
The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania), until recently was classified as a critically endangered suid facing the threat of extinction due to habitat degradation. Efforts are being made to protect the pygmy hog from extinction 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...
Responses to stress are unavoidable, adaptive mechanisms in humans and non-human animals. However, in humans, chronic stress has been linked to poor health outcomes and early mortality. Allostatic load, the physiologic dysregulation that occurs when...
Despite no significant difference in wounding between bachelor and mixed-sex groups of western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in zoological settings, anecdotal concerns around the frequency and severity of wounding in bachelor groups have perpetuated...
Maternal deprivation early in life has been shown to disrupt neonates’ development. Nevertheless, separating the young animals from their dams soon after birth remains a common practice in dairy farm husbandry. This study investigated the...
Weaning from milk is stressful. We aimed to investigate the effect of three weaning strategies on feed intake and behavior of dairy goat kids. Forty-five, 3-month-old Saanen cross goats were allocated to one of three...
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 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...
Previous research has shown that competition, familiarity, diet, and relatedness can all influence aggregation patterns in garter snakes. We controlled for these factors and examined social aggregation patterns in juvenile Eastern garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis...
Few data are published about different ferret husbandry practices in terms of housing, enrichment, feeding, social management, and the health status of ferrets. However, these factors are crucial for animal welfare and influence animal behavior...
Endangered whooping cranes (Grus americana ) have been produced in captivity for reintroduction programs since the 1980s, using techniques such as artificial insemination, multiple clutching, and captive‐rearing to speed recovery efforts. Chicks are often hand‐reared...
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...
The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...
Devising non-invasive techniques to maintain natural behaviours and increase breeding success of captive populations is a high priority in the conservation of endangered species. Allowing animals to choose their own mates not only preserves behaviours...

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