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. 
Evidence-based approaches are key to advancing all areas of zoo and aquarium practice. Output from empirical study must be disseminated to those within the industry so that results can support changes to husbandry and management...
Species-specific welfare indicators are important in promoting positive welfare for zoo animals. Reptiles are a notoriously understudied group in regards to behavior, welfare needs, and husbandry requirements. Using opportunistically obtained samples, we evaluated how blood...
Sea turtles perform various ecological services in several marine environments and are considered architects of the marine landscape. At present, they are endangered species due to anthropogenic threats, pollution and degradation of marine habitats. These...
Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...
For animals undergoing rehabilitation it is vital to monitor welfare in a way that is feasible, practical, and limits stress to the animal. The industry gold standard is to assess welfare under the Five Domains...
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) constitute a useful model for studying memory function and impairment in vertebrates and are now widely used in translational research. On the one hand, the adoption of simple, fast and reliable tests...
Being in human care often modifies the behaviour of animals, mainly because of the lack of environmental stimuli, and the ease of finding food and reproductive partners. Animals in human care may have a poorer...
Providing novel and creative enrichments for nonhuman primates improves their mental wellbeing and is thus an important aspect of all husbandry programs. These enrichments are often presented through variations in diet, toys, and environmental features...
This traditional snack has a variety of options for NHP enrichment. From fruit to cereals, get creative with the “ants” and remember to consider different fillings for the celery log.
This study aimed to determine whether tank enrichment improved positive species-specific behaviors (those that benefit the animals' overall well-being), such as basking, and/or decreased negative behaviors (those that may indicate stress, agitation, or discomfort), such...
To improve animal welfare in collective park housing systems, this study assessed the effects of the provision of gnawing hay blocks and the group composition (F: females, M: males, FM: mixed sex) on performance, behavior...
Over the decades, the use of environmental enrichment has evolved from a necessary treatment to a “best practice” in virtually all wildlife care settings. The breadth of this evolution has widened to include more complex...
One of the highest occurrences of mortalities among giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) takes place during immobilisations, captures and translocations. Common mistakes, human error, unforeseen risks, the awkward anatomy and the sheer size of the animal are...
Information on fish preference for environmental conditions can be a useful tool to offer them what they want, an important requirement for welfare purposes. Giving that such an approach deals with psychological states of the...
Captive animals that have experienced traumatic events require a high range of care prior to reintroducing them into their natural habitat; and this care should ensure their welfare in captivity. This report shows the ethological...
Many wild animals perform hiding behaviours for a variety of reasons, such as evading predators or other conspecifics. Unlike their wild counterparts, farmed animals often live in relatively barren environments without the opportunity to hide...
In January 2017, a Nile hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) was born approximately six weeks premature at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Due to the calf's weakened condition and lack of interest from the dam, management...
At high elevations, biodiversity is at elevated risk from extinctions due to rapid environmental changes. In the most of its range in Himalayas, the red panda, an endangered species, is struggling to survive in the...
While capture-mark-recapture studies provide essential individual-level data in ecology, repeated captures and handling may impact animal welfare and cause scientific bias. Evaluating the consequences of invasive methodologies should be an integral part of any study...
During the author's 37 years as Curator of Horticulture, Dublin Zoo transformed from an almost Victorian appearance to a verdant green ark. A progressive masterplan focused on animal welfare and themed habitats reflects the spirit...
The environment provided for animals in captivity is less complex than its natural habitat, which generates a stressful condition. Environmental enrichment tries to meet the animals’ ethological and psychological needs. This paper aims to evaluate...
This great cool-down snack is ideal for group or singly housed swine or nonhuman primates (particularly in larger pen-style housing). This item can be customized for canines as well by modifying the liquid used and/or...
At the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, NHPs may need to be singly housed for research purposes or veterinary care, and it can be challenging to keep them optimally enriched. This sometimes results in...
The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is widely used as a promising translational model organism for studying various brain disorders. Zebrafish are also commonly used in behavioral and drug screening assays utilizing individually tested (socially isolated) fish...

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