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. 

Zebrafish has become an animal model in research and articles have established ideal conditions for their maintenance. However, little is known regarding the influence of gender and other cues on zebrafish behavior. Thus, here we...

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...

Zebrafish are an important and expanding experimental system for brain research. We describe a noninvasive electrophysiology technique that can be used in living larvae to measure spontaneous activity in the brain and spinal cord simultaneously...

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...

Female lambs have a stronger attachment with their mothers and show a greater susceptibility to stressors than male lambs. Male lambs grow faster than female lambs do, achieving a greater nutritional independence from their mothers...

Hamsters have historically been used in our pharmacokinetic (PK) studies using the retro-orbital (RO) bleeding technique to collect blood samples. If performed incorrectly, this technique has the potential for animal welfare complications not usually seen...

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...

Faecal soiling is one of the welfare indicators in the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for sheep (Ovis aries) and is measured by dag scores. Studies on dag scoring for ewes with docked and undocked tails...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

Relocating laboratory animal research from one animal facility room to another in advance of major renovations can be a daunting task for scientists and animal care personnel alike. This is especially so regarding controlled lighting...

This article provides recommendations for the care of laboratory zebrafish (Danio rerio) as part of the further implementation of Annex A to the European Convention on the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and...

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...

Threshold temperatures for cold stress in sheep are not well understood, the available literature is somewhat dated and reports relate to winter temperatures that are relatively benign. Sheep’s preferences for outdoor versus indoor environments, when...

Model fish species such as sticklebacks and zebrafish are frequently used in studies that require DNA to be collected from live animals. This is typically achieved by fin clipping, a procedure that is simple and...

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...

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...

Respirometry has become the standard method for measuring the metabolic rate of fishes. Traditionally, respirometry has required the fish to be kept in captivity and tested under controlled conditions; however, many species do not readily...

An attention bias test has been developed as a measure of negative affective states in sheep. The test measures an individual’s allocation of attention between a threatening (previous location of a dog) and positive (conspecific...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

Blood sampling through the caudal vasculature is a widely used technique in fish biology for investigating organismal health and physiology. In live fishes, it can provide a quick, easy and relatively non‐invasive method for obtaining...

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...

Outdoor and extensive farming systems allow animals to behave in a natural way and are often perceived as welfare friendly. Nonetheless, the natural environment poses multiple challenges to the welfare of animals, sometimes hampering their...

Anthropogenic change is expected to alter environments at alarming rates. To predict the impact of modified environments on social behavior, we must study the relationship between environmental features and collective behavior in a genetically tractable...

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...

Eye temperature measured using infrared thermography (IRT) can be used as a non-invasive measure of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity in cattle. The objective of this study was to evaluate if changes in eye temperature...

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