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 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...

The article describes the care of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus) including information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. Some of the information presented is derived from...

The teleost zebrafish (Danio rerio), an established model for human skeletal diseases, is reared under controlled conditions with defined parameters for temperature and photoperiod. Studies aimed at defining the proper rearing density have been performed...

Preference testing has long been used in ethology and animal welfare science to assess the preferences that animals have for different resources and stimuli. The study conducted herein assessed the choice-making ability of five leopard...

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...

Recent research has uncovered many complex cognitive traits and affective processes in many reptile species, such as the ability to make choices that are rewarding or pleasurable. The investigation herein was initiated after many years...

The zebrafish is becoming an increasingly popular research animal around the world. Its welfare is affected by an array of environmental factors, such as food access and water quality. Holding density is an important welfare...

Orcas are large, deep-diving cetaceans who are known for their global distribution, wide-ranging behavior, intelligence, and social complexity. They possess one of the largest and most complex brains in the mammalian kingdom. However, they are...

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...

Previous research has shown that competition, familiarity, diet, and relatedness can all influence aggregation patterns in garter snakes. We controlled for these factors and examined social aggregation patterns in juvenile Eastern garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis...

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...

Journeying into the field to study a model organism in its natural habitats. “Seeing them in the wild and seeing what kind of substrates they are on has really helped inform that for us, and...

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...

The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...

Anthropogenic change is expected to alter environments at alarming rates. To predict the impact of modified environments on social behavior, we must study the relationship between environmental features and collective behavior in a genetically tractable...

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...

Fish welfare is still a relatively new field. As such, regulations and protocols to ensure fish welfare are currently limited and vary considerably in different jurisdictions. This is in part because of the ongoing controversy...

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.

Captive environments for snakes commonly involve small enclosures with dimensions that prevent occupants from adopting straight line body postures. In particular, the commercial, hobby, and pet sectors routinely utilize small vivaria and racking systems, although...

Zebrafish is one of the world's most widely used laboratory species, and it is utilized to answer important research questions in disparate fields such as biomedicine, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, toxicology, physiology, and evolution. Despite...

The management of socially complex species in captivity is challenging. Research on their social behavior improves our understanding of interactions in captive animals and captive-group management. We conducted a detailed analysis of social relationships shown...

Adopting a social science perspective and qualitative methodology on the problem of laboratory fish welfare, this paper examines some underlying social factors and drivers that influence thinking, priorities and implementation of fish welfare initiatives and...

Animals come in a huge array of types, species and structures, but without realizing it, we have focused our care on those like us, mammals. They look something like us, so it's easy to empathize...

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...

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