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. 

In a captive environment, it is challenging to ensure the highest level of social and psychological well-being for species with naturally complex social organizations and structures. There is a growing need to meet the social...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

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 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...

Much environmental enrichment for laboratory animals is intended to enhance animal welfare and normalcy by providing stimulation to reduce 'boredom'. Behavioural manifestations of boredom include restless sensation-seeking behaviours combined with indicators of sub-optimal arousal. Here...

The question of 'if and how captive primates are affected by visitors' has gained increasing attention over the last decades. Although the majority reported undesirable effects on behavior and wellbeing, many studies reported contradicting results...

Zoological institutions often encourage cooperative interactions between keepers and animals so as to promote animals' welfare. One useful technique has been conditioning training, whereby animals learn to respond to keepers' requests, which facilitates a number...

The commercial meat rabbit industry is without validated on-farm euthanasia methods, potentially resulting in inadequate euthanasia protocols. We evaluated blunt force trauma (BFT), a mechanical cervical dislocation device (MCD), and a non-penetrating captive bolt device...

The study of laboratory animal behavior has increased steadily over the last decade, with expanding emphasis on a variety of commonly used species. In the United States, this trend was initially focused on species for...

Captivity often limits a primate’s ability to make meaningful choices on a daily basis. Effective captive (behavioral) management programs should provide primates with opportunities to make meaningful choices. In the present study, arthritic chimpanzees were...

For anyone who has housed rabbits in an artificial plastic environment, what to provide as a nonfood enrichment can be an issue. Nonfood enrichment, or environmental enrichment, can be any toy, engaging sights or sounds...

I examined human-animal relationships (HARs) in zoo-housed orangutans (Pongo abelii) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) to see if they followed patterns similar to conspecific relationships in great apes and humans. Familiarity and social relationships guide...

In captive animal facilities, human staff members are a relevant part of the animals’ social environment in addition to providing care and managing the social group. Structured, predictable interactions and relaxed, spontaneous contacts may all...

Chronic pain and distress are universally accepted conditions that may adversely affect an animal’s quality of life (QOL) and lead to the humane euthanasia of an animal. At most research institutions and zoological parks in...

Animal care for nonhuman primates (NHPs) in biomedical facilities has undergone major changes in the past few decades. Today, most primate facilities have dedicated and highly trained animal care technicians who go to great efforts...

Routine laboratory procedures can be stressful for laboratory animals. We wanted to determine whether human handling of adult rabbits could induce a degree of habituation, reducing stress and facilitating research-related manipulation. To this end, adult...

COST Action B-24 established four working groups to research and discuss issues relevant to laboratory animal science. These included the housing of animals, environmental needs, refinement of procedures, genetically modified animals, and cost-benefit analysis. Based...

The discussion was started by the following questions: "Is the squeeze-back mechanism more or less stressful than the pole and collar system for removing a macaque from his cage for an IM (intramuscular) injection?" and...

The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...

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...

This article provides a brief historical background of the events and circumstances that led to the 1985 Animal Welfare Act (AWA) amendments. It describes the development of the regulations promulgated by the US Department of...

Twenty-six reports provide detailed information of how primates can be trained to voluntarily cooperate - rather than resist - during blood collection, injection, topical drug application, blood pressure measurement, urine collection, and capture.

The social environment [which includes the care providers] is perhaps the most critical factor in chimpanzee well-being, more important even than designs of the living space.

The author reviews improvements in the behavioral management of a colony of captive chimpanzees at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research. Environmental enrichment techniques, such as providing increased opportunities for physical, sensory, and feeding stimulation...

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