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 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...

Introduction: Transport to the clinic is a major source of stress for cats. The process involves being put into a carrier, driven in a car and handled. Cats are therefore removed from the safe-haven of...

Use of scruffing and scruffing tools (eg, clipnosis clips) to immobilise cats is contentious, and cat handling guidelines vary in recommendations regarding these techniques. The current study examined whether cats show negative responses to the...

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...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

This article describes the authors’ experience with the housing, social housing, husbandry, handling, and environmental enrichment of chinchillas in laboratories.

Capybaras, also known as “water pigs,” are the world’s largest rodent. Although these animals are closely related to guinea pigs, with a shoulder height of approximately 2 ft, coarse brown fur, and partially webbed feet...

Zoos use ambassador animals in educational programs featuring close contact with humans. Chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) at the Saint Louis Zoo are retrieved for programs by a keeper wearing brown handling gloves, but green cleaning gloves...

Gentling of cats in a shelter has been shown to increase contented behaviors and reduce anxiety, but it is not clear how gentling should be provided. Two experiments were conducted in cats confined to cages...

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...

Owned, shelter, and laboratory cats undergo handling and restraint throughout their lifetime for routine health examinations and necessary procedures. Many cats display fear and aggressive behaviour during health examinations, and there is potential for these...

Neurophysiologic studies of NHP commonly involve their transfer from a housing enclosure to a laboratory by using a mobile chair. This transfer should be performed in a manner that is safe and minimizes stress for...

Horse handlers often encounter problem behaviour resulting from a lack of stimulus control. Handlers are often only 15% of the weight of horses, which evolved strong flight responses. Therefore, many riders and handlers resort to...

In a randomized between-subjects design, we evaluated the effectiveness of each of three non-confrontational handling interventions compared to no intervention control on the behavior of horses during a single-trial simulated mildly aversive health care scenario...

Aquatic vertebrates and cephalopods, amphibians, reptiles, and birds offer unique safety and occupational health challenges for laboratory animal personnel. This paper discusses environmental, handling, and zoonotic concerns associated with these species.

Equines perform tasks along humans, and there are evidences and controversies that they are able to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar humans. This study assessed whether foals can discriminate between humans in terms of familiarity...

Recent interest has focused on the advantage of intensely handling young horses, as a good tool for improving emotional reactivity and thence trainability. Its effectiveness remains controversial, suggesting it might depend on the right timeframe...

Marmota monax is a valuable laboratory animal species used in studies of Hepatitis B virus (HBV), food intake, obesity, hibernation, and circannual cycles. This article describes the woodchuck’s (also known as groundhog) natural behavior and...

The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) originates from the solitary living African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). However, through domestication, the domestic cat has become more social towards conspecifics and group housing of cats is common...

During mildly aversive healthcare procedures, horses often exhibit behaviors that may interrupt or prolong the procedure. Handler response often includes increased restraint and/or positive punishment, which can be ineffective or counterproductive. The purpose of this...

Reduced space can lead to crowding in social animals. Crowding increases the risk of agonistic interactions that, in turn, may require additional physiological defensive coping mechanisms affecting health. To determine the stress induced from increased...

As research subjects, cats have contributed substantially to our understanding of biological systems, from the development of mammalian visual pathways to the pathophysiology of feline immunodeficiency virus as a model for human immunodeficiency virus. Few...

While clinical reptile medicine as a science is in its ascendancy among veterinary surgeons and other interested groups, familiarity with the often related issue of reptilian behavioural and psychological health appears less common. Behavioural change...

Routine laboratory procedures can be stressful for laboratory animals. We wanted to determine whether human handling of adult rabbits could induce a degree of habituation, reducing stress and facilitating research-related manipulation. To this end, adult...

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