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 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...

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...

Examining the literature suggests equine personality is of interest to behavior and welfare scientists and those involved in the equine industry. Study and assessment of personality is critical because of the profound implications certain traits...

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...

Horse confinement is a common practice worldwide. However, preventing horses from grazing and denying them social interaction can compromise their welfare and lead to undesirable consequences. Considering the hypothesis that increasing the forage consumption time...

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...

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...

The presentation I gave at IAT Congress 2019 was based on the changes and refinements the University of Dundee, Medical School Resource Unit (MSRU) has made over the past 18 months. These changes, described in...

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...

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...

Horses are mainly housed in individual boxes. This housing system is reported to be highly detrimental with regard to welfare and could trigger the expression of four behavioural indicators of a compromised welfare state: stereotypies...

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...

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.

Domestic donkeys descended from wild asses, adapted to the semi-arid climates of Africa, whereas domestic horses originate from more temperate areas of Eurasia. Despite this difference in evolutionary history, modern domestic equids can be found...

The temporal distribution of feeding behaviour is of primary importance in grazing herbivores. Many domestic horses are managed under conditions far removed from the natural environment. For example, restricted access to roughage may induce health...

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...

The beneficial effect of music has been demonstrated in many species. Although commercially available music CDs intended for use with rabbits are available, these enrichments have not been critically evaluated to determine whether they reduce...

Little is known about the effect of shelter design on sheltering behavior in horses. This study investigates shelter use by Icelandic horses kept outdoors 24 hours a day during the winter in Denmark and whether...

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...

Rabbits are gregarious animals that live in social groups in the wild so individually housing our animals, while meeting the present scientific objectives, restricts their natural social behaviour. How to meet the social needs of...

Since the antibody production facility at Envigo RMS opened in 2015 we have been offering our rabbits a variety of disposable and non-disposable enrichment in a floor pen arrangement. There is a perception that our...

Although the number of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) produced in Europe is important, they are under-represented in welfare research. Studies on the effects of housing conditions have focused on performance and mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis...

Domestic horses are regularly subjected to stressful situations due to management practices, such as social isolation, transport and farriery or, in general due to exposure to new/sudden stimuli. These situations may eventually be harmful to...

Domestic guinea pigs (Cavia aperea f. porcellus) in laboratories have been shown to actively avoid the centers of their cages. This experiment tested a novel, dark-colored “shader” placed over the central portion of a cage...

The objective of the study was to investigate if environmental enrichment and the composition of the social group would affect the behavior and relative brain weight of growing rabbits. Rabbits (72 males and 72 females)...

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