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. 

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...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

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...

Infra-red thermography (IRT) is a non-invasive tool for measuring eye temperature as an indicator of stress and welfare in animals. Previous studies state that images are taken from 90° but do not specify a reference...

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...

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 the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

Neurologic conditions such as stroke and traumatic brain injury are challenging conditions to study in humans. Animal models are necessary to uncover disease processes and develop novel therapies. When attempting to model these or other...

Larval, or tadpole-stage Xenopus laevis frogs are a popular research model for developmental biology and disease studies. Existing euthanasia guidance documents offer recommendations for both eggs and adult stages, yet do not specifically address the...

Anolis lizards have served as important research models in fields ranging from evolution and ecology to physiology and biomechanics. However, anoles are also emerging as important models for studies of embryo development and tissue regeneration...

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...

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...

It has become mandatory for the application for allowance of animal experimentation to rate the severity of the experimental procedures. In order to minimize suffering related to animal experimentation it is therefore crucial to develop...

Preferences for scratchers in adult cats have not yet been explored. Thirty-six adult cats were the subjects in three experiments to evaluate adult cat in-home preferences for scratchers, scratching materials, and the use of scratchers...

Using animals in scientific research is commonly justified on the utilitarian basis that the benefits of scientific progress to human health and society exceed by far the harm inflicted on animals. In an attempt to...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

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...

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...

The recognition of animal suffering is influenced by cultural and societal prejudices and the cuteness of an animal leads to bias in the way it is treated. It is important to consider the animal’s behaviour...

Effective pain relief in animals relies on the ability to discern pain and assess its severity. However, few objective measures exist to assess the presence and severity of pain in axolotls, and few resources are...

This article with photos describes how to make a cat ball toy using empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls.

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...

The 3Rs, Replacement, Reduction and Refinement, is a framework to ensure the ethical and justified use of animals in research. The implementation of refinements is required to alleviate and minimise the pain and suffering of...

Elizabethan collars are used in companion animals primarily to prevent self-trauma and associated negative welfare states in animals. However, they have been anecdotally associated with negative impacts on animal health and welfare including distress, abraded/ulcerated...

Moral stress is a major concern in veterinary practice. Often, it is associated with the challenges in end-of-life situations. Euthanasia, however, is also meant to bring relief to animal patients and their owners. The reasons...

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