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 sea turtle rescue and rehabilitative medicine, many of the casualties suffer from occurrences that would be considered painful in other species; therefore, the use of analgesic drugs should be ethically mandatory to manage the...
Prevention of pain in rabbits is a priority for both welfare and validity of scientific data. We aimed to determine if the rabbit grimace scale (RbtGS) could be used as a viable, rapid assessment tool...
It is common to observe play in dogs, cats, and birds, but have we been ignoring play in one of the most common house pets of all… fish? Aquarium fish are often used as meditative...
Research primates may undergo surgical procedures making effective pain management essential to ensure good animal welfare and unbiased scientific data. Adequate pain mitigation is dependent on whether veterinarians, technicians, researchers, and caregivers can recognize and...
Ducks are commonly housed in captive environments where their abilities for flight are constrained, either temporarily or permanently. The use of flight restraint in modern animal management is contentious and ethically questioned yet any associated...
Yearly, 2500–4000 reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) bulls are castrated in Finland, mostly without pain alleviation. No previous research exists concerning pain-related behaviours during castration in reindeer. Our aims were to investigate the effects of Burdizzo...
The soft‐bodied cephalopods including octopus, cuttlefish, and squid are broadly considered to be the most cognitively advanced group of invertebrates. Previous research has demonstrated that these large‐brained molluscs possess a suite of cognitive attributes that...
The origins of floor-laying in ducks could be low motivation for a nest, or stress related to difficulties with accessing a nest (e.g. competition). Using a behavioural demand test, we investigated if increasing the work...
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...
Appropriate end-points are integral to the refinement of laboratory animal experiments. Our recent experience has highlighted that ambiguity around end-points is hampering their adoption in experiments that cause severe suffering to fish. In toxicology, the...
A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...
Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...
For over a century, the practice of deflighting has taken place in zoological collections in order to ensure birds remain in open-topped enclosures. Over time, efforts have been made to improve or develop new (surgical)...
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...
The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...
We explore elephant play behaviour since (a) play has been proposed to represent a potential welfare indicator; and (b) play has been associated with long-term survival in the wild. We categorised play into four types...
Failing to provide hamsters with a method to wear down their teeth can lead to detrimental behaviour such as bar chewing, and health issues, for example, overgrown teeth and tooth loss. However, hamsters use their...
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...
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...
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate antinociceptive efficacy and safety of SC buprenorphine hydrochloride administration in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris). ANIMALS: 12 healthy adult hedgehogs (7 males and 5 females). PROCEDURES: 3 crossover experimental trials were performed...
Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive...
Evaluations of enrichment are critical to determine if an enrichment program is meeting stated goals. However, nocturnal species can present a challenge if their active periods do not align with caretakers’ schedules. To evaluate enrichment...
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...
Pain management in rabbits can be difficult because they are adept at hiding pain and can be stressed by handling and restraint for injection. The use of opioid analgesics with prolonged durations of activity could...

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