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. 

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...

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...

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...

Knowledge of the welfare status of wild animals is vital for informing debates about the ways in which we interact with wild animals and their habitats. Currently, there is no published information about how to...

Limited scientific literature is available for developing 'best practices' guidelines for the management of dairy goats (Caprus hircus), particularly goat kids. Disbudding practices for kids and calves appear to be similar, however, it is important...

Over the last two decades, criticisms were raised regarding the welfare experienced by elephants in European and North American zoos. Concerns regarding the welfare of zoo-housed elephants in the UK and Europe were consolidated in...

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...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

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...

Ruminants evolved in diverse landscapes of which they utilized, by choice, a diverse arrangement of plants (grasses, forbs, and trees) for food. These plants provide them with both primary (carbohydrates, protein, etc.) and secondary (phenolics...

Regular body mass (BM) monitoring plays a key role in preventative health care of zoo animals. In some species, including African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), the process of weighing can be challenging...

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...

The aim of the present study was to assess the occurrence of spontaneous food preferences in zoo-housed ring-tailed lemurs and to analyze whether these preferences correlate with nutrient composition. Using a two-alternative choice test three...

Weaning from milk is stressful. We aimed to investigate the effect of three weaning strategies on feed intake and behavior of dairy goat kids. Forty-five, 3-month-old Saanen cross goats were allocated to one of three...

Ensuring good health and welfare is an increasingly important consideration for conservation of endangered species and includes breeding of individuals managed under human care. Understanding how factors in the captive environment affect individual animal wellbeing...

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...

Several established models in human and veterinary medicine exist to evaluate an individual health or disease status. Many of these seem unsuitable for further epidemiological research aimed at discovering underlying influential factors. As a case...

Cautery disbudding of goat kids causes thermal burns and tissue destruction, which results in acute and post-operative pain and negatively affects animal welfare. The objectives of this study were to evaluate acute cortisol concentrations and...

Caring for all aspects of zoo elephants’ well-being is considered a major challenge. Providing an appropriate flooring substrate to facilitate lying rest presents a meaningful part of a holistic management concept. Investigating the impact of...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

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...

Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...

Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker...

Modern zoos strive to improve standards of animal management, husbandry and welfare of their animals as part of a continual evaluation process. Elephants (Elephantidae) have received particular attention in recent years due to the challenge...

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