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 this article, we review cats' feeding behaviors, and discuss ways of feeding cats that promote physical and mental/behavioral health, while providing cats with choices that allow expression of preferences. We address the management of...

Cats living without any outdoor access have to use litter boxes to eliminate. A lack of cleanliness is one of the main reasons for which cat owners consult their veterinarian. What has been identified as...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

This article describes the care of the Children’s python (Antaresia childreni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. The information presented is derived from Standard...

This article describes the care of central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) as well as Pygmy bearded dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling and sexing technique, as well as the general health...

Nonhuman primate (NHP) colonies housed in research settings are manipulated frequently due to research protocols, for breeding, and for veterinary procedures. These manipulations come with maneuvering complex group dynamics that can be challenging for baboon...

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...

Introducing a new cat into a household with one or more resident cats can be a significant source of stress for the cats involved. These studies sought to determine if rabbit maternal-neonatal pheromone (2-methyl-2-butenal [2M2B])...

Urination and/or defecation outside a designated location has been reported as the most common behavioural reason for surrendering a cat and comprises approximately 30% of cat intakes to shelters. The objective of this study was...

We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...

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...

Many animals use their excrements to communicate with others. In order to increase signal efficacy, animals often behaviourally select for specific defecation sites that maximize the detectability of their faecal deposits, such as the tip...

Many husbandry routines in zoo herpetology are based on tradition, authoritarianism, anecdote, or speculation. However, relatively few empirical studies underlie many very common practices. We compared growth rates among littermates of Boa constrictor raised under...

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...

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...

Indoor housing of cats is associated with a higher incidence of multiple diseases, including obesity. Increased exercise is often recommended as a method of creating or increasing the negative energy balance required for weight loss...

Cats living inside a home without any possibility of outdoor access have to defecate in a litter box. To suit the cats' needs, several recommendations seem to be agreed upon. The litter box has to...

Rabbits are known to be finicky about food and will reject it based upon several factors: odor, texture, form, or method of presentation. It can be an even greater challenge to get rabbits to eat...

Many reptiles require ultraviolet-B radiation between 290 and 315 nm (UV-B) to synthesize vitamin D3 and process dietary calcium. In captivity, exposure to too little or too much UV-B can result in health problems such...

We recorded the thermoregulatory patterns of five Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) (25-193 kg) during spring (ZRH spring trial), after the installation of a heating area (concrete heat pad and basking lamp) at Zurich Zoo...

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...

The keeping of exotic pets is currently under debate and governments of several countries are increasingly exploring the regulation, or even the banning, of exotic pet keeping. Major concerns are issues of public health and...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 1 November 2016 at the University of Edinburgh and was attended by 70 delegates. Presentation topics included refinements in blood sampling rodents...

"Do any of you give cooked food like pasta, potatoes or vegetables to non-human primates? What’s your experience? Do the animals benefit from cooked food; do they like it; does it affect their health in...

Few studies have sought to describe cat elimination behavior in detail and much of the information presently available focuses on factors that potentially cause cats to reject a litter box. Thus, the ethograms published in...

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