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...

Evaluations of enrichment are critical to determine if an enrichment program is meeting stated goals. However, nocturnal species can present a challenge if their active periods do not align with caretakers’ schedules. To evaluate enrichment...

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...

While preferences for perceptual features of objects are well studied in humans, little is known about this trait in other great apes. We therefore presented captive Sumatran orang-utans (Pongo abelii) with objects that differed in...

Captive animal welfare is important for establishments that exhibit species for education, conservation, and research. However, captive animals are often exposed to a number of potential stressors, such as visitors and anthropogenic noise. We aimed...

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...

In the wild, hippopotamuses spend much of their daily activity in the water. In zoos, it is less clear the extent to which hippos spend time in the water. We examined how much time Woodland...

Intubation in rabbits can be difficult due to their unique anatomical features. Large incisors, long narrow oral cavities, thick tongues, and limited mobility of the temporomandibular joint make laryngeal visualization difficult. It is the hope...

A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...

Automatic feeders have already been developed by different institutions and companies. Feedpods are a perfect example of an elaborate manufactured device. They are currently used in many institutions with satisfying results. One of the main...

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...

In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...

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...

The modern zoo has brought about two major advances in the behavioral welfare of their exhibited animals: (a) The use of environmental enrichment to promote naturalistic behaviors and (b) the use of training to improve...

The aim of this study was to determine the hiding preferences of farmed European fallow deer does and fawns in natural sites and artificial shelters during the postnatal period. A total of 270 hours of...

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.

We studied the behavioral responses of three brown bears (Ursus arctos) to different types of enrichment devices to assess the predominant pattern of animal-enrichment interaction (PAI) to each type of enrichment. We assessed the bears'...

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.

Zoos play a vital role in managing and conserving a wide range of threatened species and in enhancing their populations in natural habitats through captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. Most small felids are poor breeders...

In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of zoo-based touchscreen studies of animal cognition around the world. Such studies have contributed to the field of comparative cognition despite the...

Rabbits provide a unique challenge for routine endotracheal intubation in clinical practice because of various distinctive anatomic and physiologic features. Many previously proposed methods for endotracheal intubation in rabbits are limited by several factors, including...

The past few decades have seen a burgeoning of scientific studies on great apes’ use of nests for sleeping in the wild, as well as their nesting behavior and sleep in captivity. We review recent...

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 study investigated the effects of two feeding enrichment programs on the behaviour of a captive pack of European wolves (Canis lupus lupus) and their correlation with both zoo visitors' interest towards the exhibit and...

This article describes the natural behaviors of tree shrews and how to accommodate for their care and welfare in a laboratory, including information on infant rearing and diet, caging, environmental enrichment, and mitigation of stressors.

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