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. 

While recent work has assessed how environmental and managerial changes influence elephant welfare across multiple zoos, few studies have addressed the effects of management changes within a single institution. In this paper, we examine how...

The use of odors is a popular form of sensory enrichment, yet few studies have investigated the longer lasting effects of biologically relevant chemical signals like pheromones. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are unique because they...

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...

The humane treatment of animals suggests that they should be housed in an environment that is rich in stimulation and allows for varied activities. However, even if one’s main concern is an accurate assessment of...

Information on the practical use of cognitive enrichment in zoos is scarce. This survey aimed to identify where cognitive enrichment is being used while identifying factors that may limit its implementation and success. Distributed in...

The past few decades have seen increased interest in studies examining the welfare of elephants and animal–visitor interactions. One understudied area for both pursuits is the impact of public feeding interactions. Our study examined the...

To avoid killing day-old male chicks, one possibility is to keep dual-purpose chicken strains. Here, the hens were kept for egg production, and the roosters were kept for meat production. Both sexes had moderate performances...

Behavioral management programs aim to enhance the welfare of animal subjects that participate in research, thereby enhancing our ability to conduct ethical research projects. Socialization strategies, environmental enrichment techniques, opportunities for subjects to voluntarily participate...

This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!

To access resources in commercial laying houses hens must move between levels with agility to avoid injury. This study considered whether providing ramps during rear improved the ability of birds to transition between levels. Twelve...

In Australia, free-range pullets are typically reared indoors, which may hinder later adjustment to outdoor access. Rearing enrichments could optimise pullet development. Hy-Line Brown® chicks (n = 1700) were reared indoors across 16 weeks with...

Reduced mobility in broilers can contribute to leg health problems. Environmental enrichment has been suggested as one approach to combat this through stimulating increased physical activity. Past studies have tested the effect of environmental enrichments...

Beak trimming in laying hens limits the negative consequences of injurious pecking, but could be prohibited by future regulations. This study assessed a combination of management strategies during the rearing period (objects, perches, music, human...

Factors contributing to the development of keel bone damage are not well understood. This study aimed to identify behaviors and cage structures associated with acceleration events experienced by individual hens at their keels as the...

Optimising nest design for broiler breeders has benefits for both the animals and the producers. The welfare of the hens will increase by providing preferred housing, while also reducing eggs laid outside the nests. These...

Broiler chickens show a preference for platform perches over traditional bar perches. Further information is needed on the optimal provision of these perches in order for them to be successfully installed in commercial systems. This...

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

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...

This review paper is a synthesis of results from multiple studies that we have conducted over the past several years using similar methodologies to identify factors related to welfare of captive populations of elephants in...

Failing to provide hamsters with a method to wear down their teeth can lead to detrimental behaviour such as bar chewing, and health issues, for example, overgrown teeth and tooth loss. However, hamsters use their...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

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...

If a laboratory animal survives an experiment without lasting compromised welfare, its future must be negotiated. Rehoming may be a consideration. This paper reports on research findings that provide an indication of the uptake of...

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