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...

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...

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...

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...

The aim of this research was to evaluate the possible usefulness of mirrors in improving rabbit behavior in a free-range breeding system. Three groups (each consisting of nine replicates of three animals) were compared: isolated...

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 keeping of gibbons in a captive environment and recreating an appropriate habitat is essential to enable them to exhibit species-specific behaviour. This research was designed to provide baseline data on the activity budgets of...

A recent discussion on the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) focused on new enrichment ideas for rabbits. Contributors shared their experiences about which toys and treats get rave reviews from rabbits.

The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of different enrichments in various enclosures in a gibbon rehabilitation centre in the northeast of India. The results show a greater interaction with the feeding...

Calvarial bone surgery on rabbits is frequently performed. This report aims to document a simple and practical anaesthetic and perioperative management for this procedure. Fourteen male New Zealand white rabbits were included in the study...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

A three-week enrichment preference study trialling different substrates, food and pen structures was carried out in three, group-housed female New Zealand White Rabbits (NZW). Preference results: structural - rabbits spent the most time with a...

The beneficial effect of music has been demonstrated in many species. Although commercially available music CDs intended for use with rabbits are available, these enrichments have not been critically evaluated to determine whether they reduce...

Innovations in apparatus technology come about for a variety of reasons such as the need to use the same methodology with various species, the opportunity to present dynamic and carefully controlled stimuli, the goal of...

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...

The 2011 European Union Zoo Inquiry presented evidence that most zoos fail to achieve adequate levels of nonhuman animal welfare. Appropriate environmental enrichment (EE) can play a role in the promotion of welfare. However, financial...

This article describes creative enrichment ideas for nonhuman primates, including celery stalks embedded with seeds; paper rolled into tubes, braided and filled with fruit and seeds; pineapple crowns loaded with treats; dry spaghetti noodles coated...

"Do any of you give cooked food like pasta, potatoes or vegetables to non-human primates? What’s your experience? Do the animals benefit from cooked food; do they like it; does it affect their health in...

It is widely known that the psychological wellbeing of captive animals can become compromised by a captive environment that lacks proper environmental stimulation. Environmental enrichment programs have become the norm in captive environments yet research...

Among the many analgesic agents available, buprenorphine appears to be the analgesic used most often in rabbits. Unfortunately, deleterious side effects of opioids, such as gastrointestinal stasis and anorexia, may discourage the use of these...

More than a quarter of a century has elapsed since the Animal Welfare Act mandated that research facilities develop and follow a plan to promote the psychological well-being of captive primates. Since passage of this...

The act of grooming has been found to greatly decrease stress, heart rate, and cortisol levels in nonhuman primates; this decrease in stress and cortisol is seen in the animal being groomed, as well as...

This study was designed to determine whether perineural injections of local anaesthetics decreases intraoperative nociception and improves postoperative analgesia in New Zealand White rabbits undergoing experimental stifle arthrotomy. All animals were anaesthetized using isoflurane and...

Rabbits are gregarious animals that live in social groups in the wild so individually housing our animals, while meeting the present scientific objectives, restricts their natural social behaviour. How to meet the social needs 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...

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