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...
Amphibian health problems of unknown cause limit the success of the growing number of captive breeding programs. Spindly leg syndrome (SLS) is one such disease, where affected individuals with underdeveloped limbs often require euthanization. We...
There are a multitude of health monitoring techniques/ methods available. It can be difficult to know which of these to use and when to use them. This is an attempt to simplify, maximise the efficacy...
The euthanasia of cane toads under field conditions presents a number of logistical and animal welfare challenges. One recommended method of control involves the use of carbon dioxide in plastic bags. This paper describes the...
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...
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 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...
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...
This article describes the authors’ experience with the housing, social housing, husbandry, handling, and environmental enrichment of chinchillas in laboratories.
Relocating laboratory animal research from one animal facility room to another in advance of major renovations can be a daunting task for scientists and animal care personnel alike. This is especially so regarding controlled lighting...
Zoos use ambassador animals in educational programs featuring close contact with humans. Chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) at the Saint Louis Zoo are retrieved for programs by a keeper wearing brown handling gloves, but green cleaning gloves...
Food preference has been studied in a range of Hominoidea in the wild and in captivity, allowing for interspecific comparisons. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) prefer low-fibre, high-sugar foods, suggesting that frugivory...
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...
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...
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...
Xenopus laevis have a unique process for consuming food. They lack a tongue and must utilize inertial suction, jaw prehension, forearm scooping, overhead kicking, and terrestrial lunges when hunting prey. The mechanism by which Xenopus...
Husbandry staff set a goal to develop a health monitoring program for a Xenopus laevis colony that included not only specific pathogen freedom, but wellness. This article describes environmental enrichment and a water recipe for...
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...
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...
It is vital to provide appropriate nutrition to maintain healthy populations in conservation breeding programs. Knowledge of the wild diet of a species can be used to inform captive diet formulation. The nutritional content of...
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 commercial meat rabbit industry is without validated on-farm euthanasia methods, potentially resulting in inadequate euthanasia protocols. We evaluated blunt force trauma (BFT), a mechanical cervical dislocation device (MCD), and a non-penetrating captive bolt device...

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