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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...

Rabbits are known to be finicky about food and will reject it based upon several factors: odor, texture, form, or method of presentation. It can be an even greater challenge to get rabbits to eat...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...

This work aimed at evaluating the effects of housing system, pen floor type, and lactation management on rabbit doe and kit performance throughout a reproductive cycle, including categorization of aggressiveness and injuries. Forty multiparous pregnant...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 1 November 2016 at the University of Edinburgh and was attended by 70 delegates. Presentation topics included refinements in blood sampling rodents...

Although the number of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) produced in Europe is important, they are under-represented in welfare research. Studies on the effects of housing conditions have focused on performance and mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis...

Prompted by the cage cleanliness of Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus), we evaluated a prolonged cage-change interval. We compared the effects of a 2-wk and 6-wk cage-change schedule on ammonia levels, temperature, humidity, and reproductive performance...

Keeping animals in captivity should always favour conditions that aim to improve their welfare with respect to species-specific requirements. For laboratory animals, the majority of welfare issues have been explored in rodents thus far, whereas...

This article will describe alterations made by the University of Glasgow to increase the welfare of our Zebra finches by providing them with a more complex environment to engage with. It will describe how we...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 21 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on rodent welfare issues and share experiences...

At Pfizer’s Pearl River site, rabbits are socially housed in pairs or triples in dog runs that have been converted into rabbit pens. The daily husbandry and maintenance of these pens, however, proved to be...

Dietary composition and presentation impacts on the behaviour of animals, and failure to provide a suitable diet can lead to reduced welfare through the development of poor health, the inability to express normal behaviours and...

In cases where different species might be housed in the same room or secondary enclosure, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals recommends that the animals should be behaviorally compatible and have...

The study of laboratory animal behavior has increased steadily over the last decade, with expanding emphasis on a variety of commonly used species. In the United States, this trend was initially focused on species for...

For anyone who has housed rabbits in an artificial plastic environment, what to provide as a nonfood enrichment can be an issue. Nonfood enrichment, or environmental enrichment, can be any toy, engaging sights or sounds...

The most common housing system for reproduction rabbits, individual cage housing on a wire floor, is increasingly scrutinized because of its potential detrimental impact on animal welfare. We compared three types of housing: (1) individual...

Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine: An Introduction, Fourth Edition offers a user-friendly guide to the unique anatomy and physiology, care, common diseases, and treatment of small mammals and nonhuman primates. Carefully designed for ease of use...

On Swiss rabbit breeding farms, group-housed does are usually kept singly for 12 days around parturition to avoid pseudogravidity, double litters and deleterious fighting for nests. After this isolation phase there is usually an integration...

This report describes what rabbits need in terms of social housing, enclosure size and type, and environmental enrichment. It also describes potential husbandry-related welfare problems and how to resolve them.

Birds that are kept in captivity often require nail trims, presumably due to the lack of opportunity to wear the nails down on natural substrates. For many birds, restraint for the nail trim may result...

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