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 conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...
All animals have the capacity to learn through operant conditioning and other types of learning, and as a result, zoos and other animal care facilities have shifted towards the use of positive reinforcement training to...
Animal-borne tracking devices have generated a wealth of new knowledge, allowing us to better understand, manage and conserve species. Fitting such tracking devices requires that animals are captured and often chemically immobilized. Such procedures cause...
Recent years have witnessed major advances in the ability of computerized systems to track the positions of animals as they move through large and unconstrained environments. These systems have so far been a great boon...
Horses are commonly trained using negative reinforcement. However, a growing body of scientific evidence supports positive reinforcement as an efficient training method for horses. In this study we investigated the effects of adding a small...
Despite donkeys being involved in various activities with humans, their cognitive and learning abilities are still little known. A deeper understanding of their perceptive, cognitive and learning processes is, thus, necessary to preserve their well-being...
Vultures play an important role in our ecosystem by filtering out bacteria and viruses harmful to humans (e.g., rabies, botulism). However, many vultures remain in human care due to skill deficits and behavioral excesses, which...
An increasing number of marine animals are equipped with biologgers, to study their physiology, behaviour and ecology, often for conservation purposes. To minimise the impacts of biologgers on the animals’ welfare, the Refinement principle from...
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...
Access to pasture is a main benefit of free-range broiler housing systems, yet the level of outdoor stocking density on broiler animal welfare remains unsettled. The growth, feather damage, pasture ranging and behaviors were assessed...
Barren housing and high stocking densities may contribute to negative affective states in broiler chickens, reducing their welfare. We investigated the effects of environmental complexity and stocking density on broilers’ attention bias (measure of anxiety)...
Resting behaviours make up a large part of the daily time budget of broilers. However, in intensive broiler production systems disruptions of resting behaviours occur, where resting individuals get disturbed by active individuals. Such interruptions...
Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...
Dealing with potential stress in species that have high husbandry requirements, such as elephants, is a challenge for zoos. The objective of the present study was to determine whether positive reinforcement training (PRT) and exposure...
This project was started to give staff at Wild Discovery a better understanding of our giant anteater’s health and physical condition through husbandry training and conditioning. The aim of the training was to allow staff...
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...
A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...
The white-crowned pigeon, Patagioenas leucocephala, is a species of bird not often used in research. This may be related to its anxiety during normal human interactions, such as with cage changing. Our institution acquired a...
GPS collars have revolutionized the field of animal ecology, providing detailed information on animal movement and the habitats necessary for species survival. GPS collars also have the potential to cause adverse effects ranging from mild...
Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...
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...
Information regarding the physiology of African lions is scarce, mainly due to challenges associated with essential routine research procedures. The aim of this experiment was to test the possibility of training six captive lionesses by...
Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...
Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...
Interest in marmosets as research models has seen exponential growth over the last decade, especially given that the research community is eager to improve on gaps with historical animal models for behavioral and cognitive disorders...

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