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. 

Husbandry procedures and facility settings, such as low-frequency fire alarms, can produce noises in a laboratory environment that cause stress to animals used in research. However, most of the data demonstrating harmful effects that have...

The relationship between inadequate foraging opportunities and the expression of oral repetitive behaviors has been well documented in many production animal species. However, this relationship has been less-well examined in zoo-housed animals, particularly avian species...

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...

Salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA) has been proposed as a potential indicator of welfare for various species, including Asian elephants, and may be related to adrenal cortisol responses. This study aimed to distinguish circadian rhythm effects...

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...

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...

Common loons (Gavia immer) are diving waterbirds that are particularly challenging to keep in captivity due to their specific behavioral and physiologic needs, special housing requirements, and susceptibility to stress‐related disease. We report a novel...

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...

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...

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 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...

Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...

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...

Zoos play an important role in conservation, participating in captive breeding programmes and scientific research. The research can be shared and inform practice in the field and zoos. A behavioural observation study was conducted on...

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...

The white-crowned pigeon, Patagioenas leucocephala, is a species of bird not often used in research. This may be related to its anxiety during normal human interactions, such as with cage changing. Our institution acquired a...

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 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 present study assessed the diurnal variation in salivary cortisol in captive African elephants during routine management (baseline) and in relation to a potential stressor (translocation) to evaluate to what extent acute stress may affect...

For many species in zoos, particularly megafauna vulnerable to heat stress, shade is a key environmental resource. However, shade availability has received comparatively less attention than other aspects of the zoo environment. In this study...

Research on the songbird zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) has advanced our behavioral, hormonal, neuronal, and genetic understanding of vocal learning. However, little is known about the impact of typical experimental manipulations on the welfare of...

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...

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...

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...

GPS collars have revolutionized the field of animal ecology, providing detailed information on animal movement and the habitats necessary for species survival. GPS collars also have the potential to cause adverse effects ranging from mild...

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