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. 

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

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...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

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...

Studies on the etiology of behavioral problems often involve interference in the animal's routine or reliance on owners' self-reports like surveys. Gathering data from videos posted on social media, a technique coined ‘video mining’, offers...

Guinea pigs are often involved in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) but there is little knowledge about the effects of human contact on guinea pigs involved in AAT. The aim of this study was to investigate effects...

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

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...

Group-living animals vary in social behavior across multiple dimensions, including in the selectivity of social interactions with familiar versus unfamiliar peers. Standardized behavioral tests can be used to tease apart different dimensions of behavior. These...

Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting...

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...

We evaluated the effects of two types of colony cages, in which rabbit does were always in a group (C1), and where they were in combi cages furnished with removable internal walls to allow both...

This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.

Elizabethan collars (E-collars) are commonly used in various species to safeguard healing wounds. However, E-collars inadvertently restrict the expression of normal species-typical behaviors, including coprophagy, self-grooming, and social housing. To maintain social housing in accordance...

Aggressiveness is one of the main problems in group housing of rabbit does. The aim of the experiment was to investigate the frequency of aggressiveness and mating behaviour as well as the lifespan of does...

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...

Strong social support can negate negative health outcomes – an effect defined as ‘social buffering’. In the present study, using the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), we examined whether the presence of a bonded...

Guinea pigs are included in various animal-assisted interventions (AAIs), but no research has been published to date on behavioral changes in guinea pigs interacting with humans. The goal of this study was to evaluate the...

Though European rabbits are a social species, socially housing them can be challenging. Therefore, there must be a thorough understanding of behaviors and social structures of pair-housed laboratory rabbits. Here we present a protocol to...

This work aimed at evaluating the effects of housing system, pen floor type, and lactation management on rabbit doe and kit performance throughout a reproductive cycle, including categorization of aggressiveness and injuries. Forty multiparous pregnant...

Recent studies suggest that cognitive bias could constitute a novel and valid measure of animal welfare. Although interest for a link between personality and cognition is growing, no study to date investigated whether a cognitive...

Social learning is the capacity of animals to acquire adaptive information from others. In the case of fear responses, animals can learn fearful or non-fearful responses by observing the behavior of conspecifics. Tonic immobility (TI)...

Social species in captivity may face allostatic overload due to artificial grouping and other social constraints. In rescue centres, groups of psittacines are constantly mixed due to the arrival and/or release of individuals; this procedure...

The 8th Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals clarified its language regarding housing social species, specifying that, “Single housing of social species should be the exception…”. This is a...

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