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...
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...
The good intentions of zoos to introduce enrichment practices that stimulate animals mentally and physically are not always achievable. Changes to the policies and procedures in organisations are difficult to fulfil for a range of...
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...
Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is a rare mammal appearing in South and Southeast Asia, first described in 1777. Because of the detrimental effects of stress, studying stress responses is important for this wildlife conservation...
General anesthesia as used for rodent research can have adverse effects on physiologic mechanisms. Thermoregulation is often greatly inhibited, with resultant deleterious effects on cardiac and respiratory function. These potential effects can be mitigated by...
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.
Apart from species-typical foraging behavior, a large body of the literature addresses enriching captive marmoset environments through structural and housing adaptations to promote activity and exploration. These studies simulate vertical elements and climbing substrates in...
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...
Glucocorticoid (GC) stress hormones are well-known for their impact on phenotypic traits ranging from immune function to behaviour and cognition. For that reason, consistent aspects of an individual’s physiological stress response (i.e. GC responsiveness) can...
Hair can be preferred over other biological matrices for ethical reasons. Hair samples can be obtained non-invasively, thus addressing the pressing issues of animal welfare in wildlife research. Additionally, hair collection is simple and inexpensive...
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...
The endangered Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is currently distributed as a single wild population of 670 individuals and ∼400 captive animals globally. Although the captive lions are major hope for the species’ long-term conservation...
The use of odors is a popular form of sensory enrichment, yet few studies have investigated the longer lasting effects of biologically relevant chemical signals like pheromones. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are unique because they...
Captive breeding is vital for primate conservation, with modern zoos serving a crucial role in breeding populations of threatened species and educating the general public. However, captive populations can experience welfare issues that may also...
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...
Good practice for the housing and care of laboratory zebrafish Danio rerio is an increasingly discussed topic, with focus on appropriate water quality parameters, stocking densities, feeding regimes, anaesthesia and analgesia practices, methods of humane...

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