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. 
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 aim of this study was to examine the personality structure of domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) by using owner-based reporting of personality traits. A total of 743 ferret owners participated in an online questionnaire...
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...
A group of 36 1+ age class Salmo trutta were surgically implanted with dummy acoustic tags and monitored for 370 days. In total 13 tags were expelled throughout the experiment with an overall tag loss...
Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...
Examining the literature suggests equine personality is of interest to behavior and welfare scientists and those involved in the equine industry. Study and assessment of personality is critical because of the profound implications certain traits...
The impact of behavioural disorders on animal welfare in modern animal husbandry has been much debated. While other abnormal behaviours have been explored at length, there are a paucity of studies on tail-biting in rabbits...
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...
Timing of reward is very important when training horses. Incorrect timing can lead to confusion and deleterious behaviors and learning will be impaired. Clicker training can be used as an important tool in training. However...
A prevalent, traditional approach to horse-training is based on the belief that human dominance and leadership over horses is required to gain their respect and compliance. However, this denies the horses’ complex social organisation and...
Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought, alone of performing a known action will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...
Personality, defined as consistent between-individual variation in clusters of behavioral traits independent of factors such as age or sex, emerges in most animal species tested so far. The number of invertebrate species discovered to have...
The aim of this study was to conduct a series of paper-based exercises in order to assess the negative (adverse) welfare impacts, if any, of common interventions on domestic horses across a broad range of...
Food motivation may influence an animal’s performance in food-rewarded learning tasks. Nevertheless, food is often used as a positive reinforcer in learning tasks to investigate cognitive abilities of farm animals, and to test effects of...
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...
Understanding the neural circuits underlying equine behaviour has the potential to help optimise strategies of husbandry and training. This review discusses two areas of neurophysiological research in a range of species and relates this information...
The primary purpose of this study was to characterize operant learning performance of young foals. For each of 26 foals, aged 6–20 weeks, learning performance was quantitatively evaluated in a single brief training trial using...
Husbandry procedures are necessary for different purposes in horse breeding. The aim of the present study was to assess the aversiveness and effects on the horse-human relationship of a range of common husbandry procedures, in...
When engaging in procedures that horses may find aversive, restraint methods are often used to help ensure safety of both horse and handler. Twitching is a common restraint method, but its use is sometimes considered...
This paper describes a method in which horses learn to communicate by touching different neutral visual symbols, in order to tell the handler whether they want to have a blanket on or not. Horses were...
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...
Rabbit hypnosis or “trancing” was a common restraint technique used for minor procedures such as: nail clipping, tooth trimming, eye exams, and subcutaneous injections. In years past the technique was originally used on pet rabbits...
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...
The physiologic and anatomic structure of rabbits can cause high mortality rates in rabbit oral gavage. Rabbits are capable of a wide variety of jaw movement due to 3 jaw-closing muscle groups (masseter, temporalis, pterygoid)...
Successful housing requires knowledge of ferret behaviors including social behavior, eating habits, a general inquisitive nature, and a species-typical need to burrow and hide. Regular handling is necessary to maintain well-being. A ferret health care...

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