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. 

Dogs and cats have been extensively studied of late in relation to their paw preferences, with both species showing preferential motor bias at the level of the individual. Over the years, a wide range of...

This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...

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...

Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...

Play in domestic cats has been largely studied using a contextual approach, i.e., with a focus on what the cat is playing with, such as an object, itself or another cat. Such classification may be...

While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...

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...

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...

Recent studies demonstrated that cats form social bonds with both conspecifics and humans. One of the key factors regulating social interactions is the transfer of emotions between the individuals. The present study aimed at investigating...

Our objective was to identify and characterize the types of vocalization other than meowing (VOM) in two contexts, a pleasant and an aversive situation, and to study the effect of the sex of the animal...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

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...

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...

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...

Primates are notable for having a rich and detailed understanding of their social environment and there has been great interest in the evolution and function of social knowledge in primates. Indeed, primates have been shown...

In the wild, many primates consume gums exuded from trees, and many species are gum specialists. In spite of this, few data exist concerning gum feeding in captivity. Using a web-based survey of 46 zoos...

The Guide for the Care and Use of Animals and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) outline minimum space requirements for laboratory animals, including rabbits. These documents encourage housing of animals in enclosures that allow...

The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...

The aim of the experiment was to study the effects of cage density (1, 3 and 5 rabbits per cage) and sex (male and female) on stress parameters of young rabbits. A total of 90...

Social grooming may have both social and hygienic functions. For this analysis, we assume the ‘pick’ grooming method is more effective at cleaning than stroke and social grooming on parts inaccessible to the groomee is...

An ethological understanding of a behavioral phenomenon incorporates four levels of explanation: development, mechanism, function, and evolution. The phenomenon of socially-mediated learning has garnered a great deal of attention from ethologists, prominently including primatologists. Gregarious...

This book covers the major issues affecting the welfare of domestic cats. It covers recent developments in our understanding of cat behaviour, considers the ways in which cat welfare is assessed, and addresses the successes...

This article provides details to consider when preparing to use animals in biomedical research. The stress of transport and receipt of animals into a new environment mandate the need for a period of stabilization and...

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