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. 

Recognising stress is an important component in maintaining the welfare of captive animal populations, and behavioural observation provides a rapid and non-invasive method to do this. Despite substantial testing in zoo elephants, there has been...

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...

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...

The ecology of large, wide-ranging carnivores appears to make them vulnerable to conservation challenges in the wild and welfare challenges in captivity. This poses an ethical dilemma for the zoo community and supports the case...

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...

Modern zoos strive to improve standards of animal management, husbandry and welfare of their animals as part of a continual evaluation process. Elephants (Elephantidae) have received particular attention in recent years due to the challenge...

A protocol for photo‐identification of individual Megatrygon microps has been defined. One hundred and four identification photographs were taken between 2005 and 2019. Spot patterns on the dorsal surface were used to identify individuals. Unique...

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...

Automatic feeders have already been developed by different institutions and companies. Feedpods are a perfect example of an elaborate manufactured device. They are currently used in many institutions with satisfying results. One of the main...

Captive animal welfare is important for establishments that exhibit species for education, conservation, and research. However, captive animals are often exposed to a number of potential stressors, such as visitors and anthropogenic noise. We aimed...

Salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA) has been proposed as a potential indicator of welfare for various species, including Asian elephants, and may be related to adrenal cortisol responses. This study aimed to distinguish circadian rhythm effects...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

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...

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...

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...

Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...

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...

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate antinociceptive efficacy and safety of SC buprenorphine hydrochloride administration in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris). ANIMALS: 12 healthy adult hedgehogs (7 males and 5 females). PROCEDURES: 3 crossover experimental trials were performed...

Ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) are a valuable animal model used in biomedical research. Like many animals, ferrets undergo significant variation in body weight seasonally, affected by photoperiod, and these variations complicate the use weight as...

Knowledge of the welfare status of wild animals is vital for informing debates about the ways in which we interact with wild animals and their habitats. Currently, there is no published information about how to...

Zoos play an important role in conservation, participating in captive breeding programmes and scientific research. The research can be shared and inform practice in the field and zoos. A behavioural observation study was conducted on...

Environmental enrichment is an important tool utilized to improve animal welfare in zoological institutions through opportunity for mental and physical stimulation. Many past studies have focused on the impact enrichment has on animal behavior; however...

Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

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