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...

This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!

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 research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...

Growing research effort has shown that physical enrichment (PE) can improve fish welfare and research validity. However, the inclusion of PE does not always result in positive effects and conflicting findings have highlighted the many...

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...

At the Royal Veterinary College, we have carried out an investigation to look at various types of enrichment for our ferrets. This article gives examples of successful enrichment ideas, including: tunnels inside the cage, tunnels...

This poster looks at the processes in place starting with the arrival of the ferrets from the Schedule 2 supplier, through the acclimatisation period and the influenza infection procedure until reaching the end point of...

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...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

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...

The Becton Dickinson (BD) Research Animal Care Program has developed an acclimation and enrichment program that has enhanced animal welfare for studies requiring single housing, contributed to a culture of care, increased transparency, and improved...

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...

One of the goals of environmental enrichment is to encourage species-typical behaviors, while discouraging abnormal behaviors or stereotypies. Assessing the effectiveness of various enrichment modalities can be challenging, particularly for prey species such as rabbits...

This open access book is a printed edition of the Special Issue on Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes that was published in the journal Fishes. The PDF is free for download.

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 aim of this research was to evaluate the possible usefulness of mirrors in improving rabbit behavior in a free-range breeding system. Three groups (each consisting of nine replicates of three animals) were compared: isolated...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of 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...

The effects of structural enrichment in the hatchery rearing environment of brown trout Salmo trutta was linked to post-release performance. Enrichment resulted in reduced swimming activity scored in an open field test and reduced movement...

A recent discussion on the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) focused on new enrichment ideas for rabbits. Contributors shared their experiences about which toys and treats get rave reviews from rabbits.

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...

A three-week enrichment preference study trialling different substrates, food and pen structures was carried out in three, group-housed female New Zealand White Rabbits (NZW). Preference results: structural - rabbits spent the most time with a...

Environmental enrichment is often advocated to refine animal studies. Despite the increasing use of ferrets as an animal model in biomedical research, the knowledge on effects of the provision of enrichment on these animals is...

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