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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

This article describes the authors’ experience with the housing, social housing, husbandry, handling, and environmental enrichment of chinchillas in laboratories.

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...

For captive primates, greater provisioning of leafy greens or foliage can promote natural foraging behavior while boosting fiber intake. Recalcitrant fiber, although minimally available to endogenous metabolism, is readily fermented into nutrients by gut microbes...

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...

Excessive body mass, i.e., being overweight or obese, is a health concern associated with issues such as reduced fertility and lifespan. Some lemur species are prone to extreme weight gain in captivity, yet others are...

One of the goals of environmental enrichment is to encourage species-typical behaviors, while discouraging abnormal behaviors or stereotypies. Assessing the effectiveness of various enrichment modalities can be challenging, particularly for prey species such as rabbits...

Studies on environmental enrichment for reptiles are lacking in the scientific literature. Although the literature reflects a limited take on reptile enrichment in the zoological community, it may not be the case in reality as...

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 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...

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.

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.

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...

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