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. 
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...
Since they arrived at CU Boulder, we have learned a lot about the voles from the laboratory, other institutions, and our trial-and-error. We hope this information can be helpful to any considering adding voles to...
Naked mole-rats (NMRs) have unique husbandry requirements that need to be considered when maintaining them in captivity. We have successfully maintained NMRs at the University of Illinois at Chicago for more than 20 years. This...
Many wild animals perform hiding behaviours for a variety of reasons, such as evading predators or other conspecifics. Unlike their wild counterparts, farmed animals often live in relatively barren environments without the opportunity to hide...
Human relationships are structured in a set of layers, ordered from higher (intimate relationships) to lower (acquaintances) emotional and cognitive intensity. This structure arises from the limits of our cognitive capacity and the different amounts...
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...
Early-life experiences may considerably affect the behavioural patterns of adult primates. Particularly, atypical rearing practices might lead to abnormal behaviours and social-sexual deficiencies in captive, adult non-human primates. We conducted behavioural observations of mother-reared (n...
In a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...
Behavioural diversity may serve as a positive indicator of animal welfare that can be applied in long-term monitoring schemes in managed settings (eg zoos, laboratories, farms). Behavioural diversity is often higher when animals live in...
Comparative thanatology encompasses the study of death-related responses in non-human animals and aspires to elucidate the evolutionary origins of human behavior in the context of death. Many reports have revealed that humans are not the...
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...
Chimpanzees in zoos with sufficient and appropriate environmental enrichment devices are expected to exhibit behaviors, interactions, and societies similar to those in the wild. In this study, we compared the activity budgets of each observed...
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...
Social grooming is often exchanged between individuals in many primate species. Rates of bidirectional (or simultaneous mutual) grooming vary across primate species, and its function is not yet fully understood. For example, mutual grooming is...
The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a rodent that has gained importance as a biomedical research model for various conditions including hypoxic brain injury, cancer and nociception. It is captured from the wild 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...
Female lambs have a stronger attachment with their mothers and show a greater susceptibility to stressors than male lambs. Male lambs grow faster than female lambs do, achieving a greater nutritional independence from their mothers...
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...
Wild great apes build beds for sleeping by combining tree branches or other vegetation, but the development of this behavior is poorly understood. We investigated the development of bed-building behaviors by conducting complementary cross-sectional and...
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...
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.
The past few decades have seen a burgeoning of scientific studies on great apes’ use of nests for sleeping in the wild, as well as their nesting behavior and sleep in captivity. We review recent...

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