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. 
Sea turtles perform various ecological services in several marine environments and are considered architects of the marine landscape. At present, they are endangered species due to anthropogenic threats, pollution and degradation of marine habitats. These...
For animals undergoing rehabilitation it is vital to monitor welfare in a way that is feasible, practical, and limits stress to the animal. The industry gold standard is to assess welfare under the Five Domains...
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) constitute a useful model for studying memory function and impairment in vertebrates and are now widely used in translational research. On the one hand, the adoption of simple, fast and reliable tests...
Providing novel and creative enrichments for nonhuman primates improves their mental wellbeing and is thus an important aspect of all husbandry programs. These enrichments are often presented through variations in diet, toys, and environmental features...
This traditional snack has a variety of options for NHP enrichment. From fruit to cereals, get creative with the “ants” and remember to consider different fillings for the celery log.
This study aimed to determine whether tank enrichment improved positive species-specific behaviors (those that benefit the animals' overall well-being), such as basking, and/or decreased negative behaviors (those that may indicate stress, agitation, or discomfort), such...
This great cool-down snack is ideal for group or singly housed swine or nonhuman primates (particularly in larger pen-style housing). This item can be customized for canines as well by modifying the liquid used and/or...
Vocalizations are used by group-living animals as aggressive and submissive signals during agonistic interactions, and are also used to maintain dominance hierarchies in many species. For gregarious strepsirrhines with large vocal repertoires and differentiated dominance...
The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is widely used as a promising translational model organism for studying various brain disorders. Zebrafish are also commonly used in behavioral and drug screening assays utilizing individually tested (socially isolated) fish...
Captive breeding is vital for primate conservation, with modern zoos serving a crucial role in breeding populations of threatened species and educating the general public. However, captive populations can experience welfare issues that may also...
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...
Good practice for the housing and care of laboratory zebrafish Danio rerio is an increasingly discussed topic, with focus on appropriate water quality parameters, stocking densities, feeding regimes, anaesthesia and analgesia practices, methods of humane...
Environmental enrichment has been found to significantly influence the cognitive abilities of a variety of mammalian and avian species, with effects ranging from positive to negative, however, these effects have been little studied in reptiles...
There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating the benefits of environmental enrichment across a range of different animal species. However, there is comparatively little such research into the effect of enrichment provision on captive reptiles...
This DIY snack is great for NHP and can be customized in a variety of ways.
This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!
Considering animal welfare, animals should be kept in animal-appropriate and stress-free housing conditions in all circumstances. To assure such conditions, not only basic needs must be met, but also possibilities must be provided that allow...
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 effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior and welfare in captivity of reptiles and of freshwater turtles in particular, which are popular aquarium and pet species, is very little studied compared to other taxa...
There are several items we often use in animal facilities that when finished with are thrown away. However, many of these items come in packaging that can be recycled as enrichment for our animals, particularly...
This research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...
Environmental enrichment is used to increase social and physical stimulation for animals in captivity which can lead to enhanced cognition. Fundamental to the positive effect enrichment has on the brain is that it provides opportunities...
Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...
Growing research effort has shown that physical enrichment (PE) can improve fish welfare and research validity. However, the inclusion of PE does not always result in positive effects and conflicting findings have highlighted the many...

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